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Running Technique For Performance And Injury Prevention

 Mo Farah 1

Head and Neck:


Often runners have a forward head posture which is essentially where the chin pokes forwards in relation to the mid line. For every inch the head moves forwards in relation to the mid line there is an increase in pressure by around 10lbs.



This can cause:


  1. Headaches
  2. Chronic neck pain
  3. Nerve irritation- Pins and needles in the arm/hand or numbness.


This position can be corrected by tucking the chin in slightly (try and do this without looking down).


Arm Swing


Arm swing is an important part of the gait cycle and allows us to run smoothly and propel our body forwards and enabling us to maintain balance. Try not to bend your elbows past 90degrees. Some of the reasons why people find it difficult to swing the arms evenly are as follows:

  1. Stiffness in the mid back (thoracic spine) - NB this may affect your ability to use your diaphragm to breathe which will cause overuse of accessory breathing muscles in your neck. This can lead to neck pain.
  2. Abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
  3. Restrictions at hip and low back level
  4. Alterations in lower limb mechanics

If you notice one arm swings but the other doesn’t it may be as a result of one of the factors above which will need addressing to prevent injury from imbalance.


Pelvis and Hips


Commonly, weakness in the hips and core can lead to reduced hip and spinal stability. This can lead to a less efficient gait and slow you down. It can also be a major cause of low back, hip, knee, shin and foot pain so worth addressing before this occurs.




There are a lot of different styles of shoe out there. Barefoot running/minimalist footwear, anti-pronation, neutral, stability etc. There has been a lot of talk about barefoot running and how great it is….. this may be the case for some people but it will not be good for everyone, in-fact research by Miller et al found that those that run around 7 minute miles have 6.2% more efficiency when heel striking.


As a general rule, the faster you go the more you will be inclined to forefoot strike. Running barefoot may come more naturally to some people because of ankle mobility as people with stiffness when bending the ankle up may not be able to achieve the necessary angle to be able to heel strike and will therefore need to mid or forefoot strike. It is true that forefoot striking reduces impact on bony structures and joints however landing on the forefoot increases pressure on the soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments which can lead to a host of other problems.

Essentially, finding a comfortable running style and accommodating this with a shoe is the best way to go about it.


Foot Posture


Many factors can lead to altered foot position during running from weakness in your hips to tight calves. It is not as simple as saying “you have flat feet and therefore you are going to get pain” as this can contribute to other mechanical difficulties in the foot but pronation is not necessarily an indicator of pain or dysfunction. If the feet are different and/or you get any pain it is at this point where you should get your biomechanics checked as abnormalities may lead to more than just foot pain as the rest of the body has to try and compensate.


At betterNOW healthcare we offer an extended biomechanical assessment which combines Physiotherapy with Podiatry to uncover the root of your problem using slow motion gait analysis software and pressure plate technology. These appointments last between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours.


For more information on Running Injuries or to speak someone about booking an appointment please call 01223832808 or you can book via our website by following this link http://www.astutedatasystems.com/home.aspx?ID=280

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