Osteoarthritis, pregnancy, good shoes… These received ideas about running

I am a physiotherapist in a clinic in sportin the regional hospital center of Huy, in Belgium, and specialized in injuries legs. In addition to my work as a clinician, I am also a researcher at the University of Liège, in Human Movement Analysis Laboratory. I am interested in the involvement of the foot-ankle complex in injury prevention and performance in foot race of resistance These two aspects of my work allow me to combine the evidence reported in the scientific literature and the reality on the ground of caring for injured runners.

running is one of the most popular sports in the world, thanks to its accessibility and low cost. It also has many benefits, which are unfortunately outweighed by a high frequency of injury occurrence (about twice as high as in other sports). The figure varies considerably between studies, but it would seem that about 65% of runners will suffer at least one injury this year.

The causes are very often misunderstood, particularly because of their multifactorial aspect, which has led to the development of false beliefs that often lead to the recurrence of an injury and, on occasions, to the definitive cessation of sports practice.

Our role as an actor in health care is to fight against these unfounded myths, to promote physical activity and the adoption of a less sedentary lifestyle in the general population. These are the main ideas that I have to deal with in my clinical practice, with runners of all ages and all levels.

“I got hurt because my shoes are not suitable”

The shoe is often framed at the onset of running injuries. He is usually blamed for his lack of cushioning or its state of use. the industry of the shoe amounts to several billion dollars. Brands constantly offer new models with additional features and technologies that can supposedly reduce the risk of injury.

To date, the link between shoe type and the occurrence of a running injury remains weak. In fact, studies that have attempted to demonstrate the benefit of cushioning or the effect of wear and tear on running injury have failed. On the contrary, it would even seem that shoes equipped with significant cushioning cause increased joint stress. Therefore, the choice of a shoe must be individual and must result mainly from the comfort felt when wearing it.

“My doctor told me I had osteoarthritis, I can no longer run”

osteoarthritis is a pathology that affects the cartilage, which affects an important part of the population. The succession of impacts caused by the practice of running is often mistakenly considered to be harmful to cartilage. Nevertheless, the scientific literature has a completely different opinion on this.

Although the thickness of the cartilage is reduced within a few minutes of running activity, it returns to normal after only an hour. Other studies show that recreational runners have less osteoarthritis than sedentary people. This could be explained in part by the long-term adaptation of the cartilage due to the impacts linked to running, but also by the secondary benefits due to the practice of this sport (lower body mass, greater muscle strength, etc.).

Studies also show us that running with signs of osteoarthritis does not increase symptoms and does not cause further damage to cartilage. Therefore, osteoarthritis should not discourage running.

“I have back pain, running is not recommended”

Back pain are the main causes of restricted participation in activities and absenteeism in to work. Back pain is frequently accompanied by comorbidities such as fear of moving or a high level of anxiety. Numerous studies have shown the effects of practicing physical activity to protect against the appearance of back pain, but also to reduce it when it is already present. Runners are less prone to back pain than the general population: it appears that running is a protective factor.

On the other hand, running at a low intensity also increases the basic metabolism, but also the blood flow to the muscles of the back, which allows a improvement of the healing process.

“I got hurt because my running technique is not good”

Running technique is a topic that often animates discussions among runners. Many sites offer unscientific methods to reduce the risk of injury: “land on the forefoot”, “run with a cadence of 180 steps per minute”, “run barefoot”etc.

However, to date, there is no study that has actually shown a causal link between a biomechanical parameter and injury incidence in running. On the contrary, it would seem rather that abruptly modifying the technique can increase the risk of injury by increasing stress in areas hitherto unaccustomed to receiving it.

In general, it is not recommended to change your running technique when you are not injured. And in an injured runner, the modification will be made taking into account his individual characteristics, his injury history and his current injury.

“Pregnant, I stopped running because it could be dangerous”

physical exercise and the pregnancy they are not always seen as compatible. However, practicing sports during this period has many benefits, both for the mother and for the baby (reduction of risk of macrosomiagestational diabetes, preeclampsialow back pain and urinary incontinence).

Current Recommendations recommend a practice of one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate physical activity per week for a pregnant woman who practiced sports before her pregnancy. It is also possible to start exercising during pregnancy starting with five minutes the first week and then adding five to ten minutes each week.

Running is quite a suitable physical activity for a pregnant woman, even in the last trimester. Studies show us that this practice does not advance the expected date of pregnancy, strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and could also reduce the risk of postpartum depression. However, each pregnancy has its specificities and it is recommended to consult with your doctor.

Running is therefore a physical activity with A lot of advantages which should make you forget the few inconveniences it can sometimes cause. The cessation of its practice should only be advised in exceptional cases. Physical failures are often part of the life of the athlete. fatigue and stress to which we are subjected daily, associated with a lifestyle that is not always ideal, are factors by which our field of action is often limited and contribute to the appearance of our injuries. To minimize its risk of appearance, a progressive practice with a long-term vision should be favored.

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