Without the proper footwear and form, running could be doing your body more harm than good.
Improper running mechanics can cause musculoskeletal pain and injury. To diagnose a problem, first determine how your feet roll when they strike the ground. Most runners have too much inward roll, called overpronation.
“If you overpronate, start with more supportive running shoes and gradually transition to more minimalist-style shoes,” says Amanda Leavy, PT, physical therapist at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. “A minimalist shoe promotes proper running form, but it may take time to learn the right technique before switching shoe styles.”
Best Foot Forward
To achieve proper running form, Amanda offers the following instructions:
- Lean forward slightly, engaging your core, spinal and pelvic muscles.
- Hit the ground mid-foot, more toward the ball than the heel. Footstrikes should be quick and light.
- Strike underneath your center of gravity, letting your forward stance create momentum.
- Use your hamstring to lift your foot.
“Listen to your body and make any needed adjustments,” Amanda says. “You’re less likely to experience pain hotspots after correcting your running form.”
Improve your running form with a gait analysis at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. To schedule an appointment, call 701.732.7620.
Amanda Leavy, PT, is a physical therapist at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. She and her husband, Paul, have two young boys, Corban and Colten. Her favorite things to do besides being with family are CrossFit, running and watching Sioux Hockey.
Ps. For 30 Days, push yourself just a little harder toward your fitness goals. Even if you don’t run, walk a little farther, swim one more lap or keep cycling a few minutes more. Learn more about #30DaysofRunning.