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Why Running Can Be Leading You To Injury – Who Taught You To Run???


The marathon season is fast approaching and we’ve heard that a few of our clients have got their place in the London Marathon for 2018 (congrats!!). A couple of tips I would give to all you budding runners is take training steady but consistent… please don’t leave it until the last minute and try to cram it in! Also, listen to your body. Your body will be good at telling you when it needs a rest, when it needs to be pushed and most importantly of all it will tell you when it’s injured!

I myself am in the midst of my own marathon training so am practicing what I preach!

From a young age we learn how to move, first how to crawl, then to walk, then to run. But who taught you how to do all of this? The answer is probably nobody and that you taught yourself. You probably can’t even remember how you did this because all these activities become second nature to you…. until injury strikes!

Becoming injured is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t quite working as it should. Let me give you an example: have you ever noticed (you will now if you haven’t already) that when a toddler picks something up off the floor they squat perfectly without bending their back? So when do these good habits change to bad habits? Are they learnt by copying others or do we change how we do it because it’s more convenient or ‘quicker’? Lots of leaning over to pick things up will eventually lead to back pain (trust me I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of clients come to clinic with a bad back because they bent over from their back to pick something up instead over bending from their hips and knees).

It’s exactly the same when looking at a running technique, if the Gluteal’s (buttock muscles) aren’t working as they should – especially important from a female point of view as women generally have a genetics based wider hip setting – the knees will drop in towards each other! If the knees are knocking, you can bet your bottom dollar the problem doesn’t stop there, as the foot will be inclined to fall into something called pronation. In simple terms pronation means the inside edge of your foot rolls towards the ground which is not great as this really affects how the lower limb supports itself and accepts load to and from the floor.

If the load is higher than it should be then your leg is at risk of stress and strain and eventually injury.

Running is a lot more of a complex skill than you would think and even the smallest of changes to the body’s natural movement patterns mixed with high levels of repetition will be enough to highlight even the slightest of movement faults.

Have a think about the day after you’ve gone for a run and that muscle soreness has kicked in…….ask yourself, is there one area that always feels particularly tighter or sorer than the rest? If you are answering YES to this question this could be highlighting that your movement isn’t quite as it should be.

I love to see how many active runners Southend has. A stroll down the seafront is not complete without seeing the countless amounts of runners passing you by but how many of you knew that running is actually a whole body movement? Most people think the legs do all the work and are the most important part of your body during running.




This may come as a shock to some of you, but your arms are vital for good running technique as they give you balance, rhythm and would you believe they are actually the main drivers throughout your running technique!

I see a lot of runners use their arms to carry their water bottle or hold their ipod on a run which renders them useless and sets the rest of the body up for injury at some point. So please make sure you think about your arms and moving them when running.

To get the most out of your arm drive make sure your elbows are bent to roughly 90 degrees and your arms drive up so your wrists reach your chin level and back down to your hip. Your legs will work to the rhythm of your arms and should work in a “cycling” motion so you push yourselves forward using your hip extensors (Gluteals and Hamstring) muscle group power rather than pulling yourself forward with your hip flexors (Quadriceps).



Like any skill we learn for our work or for example lifting a weight in the gym, running technique is a skill that needs to be learnt and then worked on for it to be improved. That doesn’t just mean running longer or faster it means breaking the technique down and working on the individual elements that make up the running technique and then putting it all back together and practicing it during your runs.

The Running School here at the clinic was introduced due to the sheer popularity of the runners in the area as we want to do exactly that – hone your running skills to keep you moving better and feeling better and what an added bonus it would be if your running times and distances could be improved in the process!!!

So, if you’re serious about running and staying injury free or if you’re interested in how to move more optimally my advice to you is first have your running technique analysed properly and by that I mean being videoed from head to foot by a movement professional who will video you running from more than one angle, explain what’s going well and what’s not and then get a plan of how to work on improving it.

As I said at the beginning of this article running is a skill and if you want to enjoy doing it injury free then you need to practice they way you do it and not just go for a run and hope for the best.

Good luck and happy running! 😊

Aaron Whittaker – Specialist Running Therapist at WDC Physio





Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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