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The truth behind running injuries

Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CGFI


The biggest mistake people make about running is that they are running to get in shape. But the truth is that you should get in shape to run.

The repetitive and excessive impact (3-5x body weight) over 55,000 steps (in a marathon) can cause a lot of injury and pain.  Also, if you’ve had a running injury in the past, that also increases your risk of having another one in the future.

But then people start to think that running is bad for your.  The truth is that bad running is bad for you.  

At Professional Physical Therapy and Training, we can break down your movement patterns and assess your running technique.  It’s easy to say to a runner to stop running if it hurts. But what if they have a race to run in a couple weeks? And if they really love to run, do you really want to take away that thing that they love?

It all depends on the severity of the injury.  If it’s really severe, then a runner may have to take a break.  But perhaps it’s the running technique that needs to be fixed, or some strengthening that needs to be addressed, or it may be as simple as training intensity (ideal mileage per week is 40 miles or less).

Most runners don’t strength train.  As athletes age, it’s normal to lose muscle strength. But if it’s not addressed, the loss of strength can lead to faulty running mechanics and injury.  Most of the time, I find a weakness in the hips, especially the glutes.  Strengthening the glutes, particularly the gluteus medius can improve the impact position, stability, and help in attenuating shock upon impact.

Also, some runners don’t even cross train.  Overuse injuries, especially since running is such a repetitive movement, is common.  Running athletes need to include other aerobic activities to maintain a balanced body, like cycling or swimming.  Also these cross training activities unload your joints a bit, giving them a break.

Having an old injury in the past can increase the risk factor for having an injury in the future.  Most of the time, I see old injuries not get address fully.  The injury only partially heals, or the associative muscle weakness lingers, and then the athlete goes back to running with faulty mechanics.  Old injuries need to be addressed in full.  Make sure all aspects of the old injury are covered and addressed before returning to running.  

Remember, running isn’t bad.  Bad running is bad.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit us.



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