Running Assessments: Worth the time & money?
Posted by: Reform Physical Therapy in Sport Tips on May 4, 2023
100% yes! Running assessments aren’t just for those prepping for their next marathon, they’re for anyone hoping to avoid future injury. Whether you’re the serious athlete putting in dozens of miles each month or the casual jogger who goes out whenever the mood strikes, a running assessment can save you time & money AND help you get more enjoyment out of running.
You might be thinking, ‘Running doesn’t hurt, so what the heck do I need an assessment for?’. That’s great, we love when people tell us they’re running pain-free… but remember that just because it doesn’t hurt *now* doesn’t mean it won’t hurt at some point.
PROPER BODY MECHANICS + PROPER FOOTWEAR = THE LOWEST LIKELIHOOD OF INJURY
(Barring any stray squirrels that ruin your day…)
A running assessment will examine the weaknesses, strengths, and any mechanical challenges that may impact the efficiency or overall enjoyment from running. During the assessment, your therapist will be able to observe any improper running techniques or biomechanical asymmetries, from head to toe, that may be causing or lead to pain or injury.
There’s more to a running assessment than just hearing, “Oh, you run like Phoebe from Friends…” It’s an individualized assessment of YOUR specific movements and habits.
RUNNING ASSESSMENTS ANALYZE FACTORS SUCH AS:
- Swing Time
- Step Time
- Stride Length
- Weight Distribution
- Pronation (The way your foot rolls upon impact)
What does all of this mean? It means your PT would be able to not only tell you where your mechanics are off, but also how to FIX the issue. And really, the solution is what’s important no matter what.
Running assessments include forward, backward, and lateral video analysis of your running form. Your therapists will record you running from different angles, in an effort to notate which joints are or are not supporting you properly, as well as any movements that are poorly controlled by your muscular structure. Traditionally, running assessments are completed on a treadmill, but in some cases they are also performed on a track or road.
Okay, but how is this going to save me money?
According to the National Library of Medicine:
“Over 5 years, sports injuries in Florida youth cost $24 million for inpatient care and $87 million for ED care. Youth averaged $6039 for an inpatient visit and $439 for an ED visit in costs from sports injuries. Sports injuries for Medicaid-insured youth cost $10.8 million for inpatient visits and $44.2 million for ED visits.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6539161/
Important to note: LOTS of sports injuries are caused while running… Muscle strains, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis are some of the most common running-related injuries we see in our clinics. Can we prevent every single occurrence? No, of course not, BUT we can help prevent many of them!
Also, those stats above are for YOUTH injuries. As you can assume, injured adults typically have a longer recovery time, which means higher overall medical costs.
What would you rather pay for? A running assessment every couple of years, or potentially THOUSANDS of dollars in medical care to rehabilitate a running injury? We don’t know about you… but we know which way we lean.
If you’re a habitual runner or someone that’s thinking about getting started, we strongly suggest seeking out an assessment. It’s much easier to prevent and injury than it is to recover from one. Running assessments are available at all of our clinics and we can typically get you scheduled withing a day or two of you calling!