Physical Therapy for Running Performance in New York City

“I would rate the Perfect StridePT team higher than 5 stars if I could. As a professional runner that struggled with injuries for about 3 years, I can honestly say that meeting Vikash and the Perfect Stride team has been a game changer in my career. . . Now that I am running healthy with their help, I still have weekly check ups to make sure that I am doing the proper prehab, and not just rehab.”

5/5

MARY CAIN (5 Star Yelp Review)

PROFESSIONAL RUNNER WITH TRACKSMITH

All of your running needs under one roof in a controlled, progressive and evidence-based setting

Running is a popular sport that offers numerous benefits including improved fitness and cardiovascular health, personal satisfaction, mental well being and a sense of community. It’s also a high impact activity in which your body must deal with forces up to three times your body weight with each stride you take. Overuse injuries of the lower body are very common in runners.

Some of the more common running injuries we see include:

We can help you better understand your gait, cadence, foot-strike, and injury potential through the lens of a physical therapist, so you can better prevent potential running injuries. If you’ve already been injured, a thorough running and movement assessment is essential for your rehabilitation and future success.   

A Physical Therapy gait analysis is best used in combination with a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation to address movement limitations and performance issues. During an initial runner’s assessment, you receive:

Perfect Stride offers complete running packages with experienced and accessible certified running coaches who are also Doctors of Physical Therapy. Our services include an assessment (gait and movement), day-to-day programming, strength training and more. For example click here to learn about our comprehensive Gait Analysis service for runners. One-on-one sessions with our running experts are available, in order to provide you the highest quality care and allow you to run your best.  We also offer online on-demand running coach packages utilizing TrainingPeaks.  

TrainingPeaks provides a complete web, mobile and desktop solution that syncs with most wearable fitness trackers to enable smart and effective training to runners anywhere you are. Through TrainingPeaks we can analyze your training and make appropriate real-time adjustments to your program so that you can crush your goals and PR!  Click here to learn more about our On-Demand run coaching packages available via TrainingPeaks. 

If you’re a runner, you understand the importance of maintaining proper form and technique while you’re out on a trail, training for a marathon, or simply jogging through Central Park. At  Perfect Stride, we want to make sure that you are performing at your optimal level of function, so you can reduce your injury risk and perform your best!  

5 Ways a Physical Therapist Can Help You Achieve your Running Goals Safely & Efficiently.

1. Personalized coaching

As each runner is unique, to optimize performance, runner’s need training programs customized to their individual selves. What works for your running buddy, teammate, or favorite runner won’t necessarily work for you.

Sports physical therapists understand the mechanics of the body in motion and how those mechanics work with your unique characteristics when you run. This information allows them to make suggestions to improve your technique and prevent injuries from poor form. Together, you can make a training plan tailored to you that includes a proper warm-up and cool-down, strengthening and mobility exercises, mileage periodization, a training schedule, and more.

2. We keep you on your toes

It’s easy to get into a training rut, but doing the same thing repeatedly doesn’t strengthen and condition your body for better performance and in fact, it can cause repetitive strain injuries. Variability is essential to being a well rounded runner that can tolerate all the challenges that come your way. A physical therapist won’t let you settle for the status quo. We can coach you through various running workouts such as Fartlek training, tempo runs, long runs, hill workouts, and varied interval training to name a few. Utilizing these different types of running workouts at different times in your training cycle will have you running faster, more efficiently setting a PR and peaking for race day!

3. We don’t overlook soft tissue

Every runner knows they need healthy bones, muscles, heart, and lungs for excellent running. But other body parts can slow you down if they get neglected. Physical therapists keep your entire body in mind as we help you train. Running can strain and damage soft tissue like small muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. An expert sports physical therapist can perform soft tissue treatments to relieve swelling and pain in these areas and increase functionality for better running.

4. We make you slow down

That’s correct – sometimes it’s best to ‘slow down’. Everyone needs a break, and a physical therapist knows when it’s time for you to take one. A very high percentage of running injuries are attributed to poor training habits and adding too much running volume too quickly. If you rush your training for an event, you can severely stress your body to the point of injury. A physical therapist will guide your training through a deloading phase to relieve stress before your race or next training block. This is vital for preserving all of your progress, not plateauing and reducing your injury risk.

5. We protect you from injuries

Far too often, runners don’t visit a physical therapist until well after they’ve suffered an injury. If only they knew everything we’ve already discussed about how physical therapists help athletes prevent injuries. Also, in a 2019 study done by Bayer et al they found those starting rehab at day 2 after an injury versus day 9 day were found to recover 3 weeks faster! Every runner suffers an injury at some point, but serious injuries due to inadequate training can keep you off the track for an entire season. Thus it’s sensible to work with a physical therapist preemptively to prevent a debilitating injury before you require running rehabilitation services. For many of the best runners, a trusted sports physical therapist is their secret weapon to improving their running and achieving their goals.

5 Training Tips to Improve Your Running Mechanics:

1. Cadence

A recent study published in the National Institutes of Health analyzed the effects of cadence on a runner’s likelihood of sustaining an injury. Studied were 45 healthy runners to assess how differences in cadence affected loading on the hip and knee joints. The findings determined that a quicker cadence “generally leads a runner to strike with the midfoot compared to runners with longer strides,” which can cause pain or injury. Thus an improved cadence can be achieved by making your strides shorter. This will reduce loading on the hips and knees, preventing injury.

2. Hips Don’t Lie

Much of running is focused on the feet; however, pelvic and hip positioning plays a large role in running, as well. Proper pelvic and hip motor control and stability is aseessed by doing specific hip position tests, like vertical compression and hip extension tests.

With the vertical compression test, stand with someone behind you, with that person placing their hands on your shoulders. Have them push straight down. If your hips buckle, it means your pelvic alignment could be in a disadvantageous position for loading (vertical compression forces from running). This can be corrected with motor control, stability and body awareness training with the help of a physical therapist.

With hip extension, kneel in front of a doorway with your back against the door jamb. Your left leg should be on the floor and your right knee should be bent over your right foot, directly in front of you. While you’re in this position, you should naturally have a small space between your lower back and the wall. Tilt your pelvis backward to remove this space. If this is difficult to do, you may have some mobility limitations or motor control restrictions. This can also be corrected with motor control, stability and or body awareness training, with the help of one of our physical therapists.

3. Base of Support

The National Institutes of Health, published research wherein numerous running metrics were studied through video assessments, including base of support. Base of support is a vital metric to assess, as foot placement is one of the most integral parts of running. It was noted that, as a general rule, “the left and right feet should not overlap in their ground contact location.” There should always be space between foot placement, as a narrow base of support has been known to cause painful conditions, such as tibial stress fractures and iliotibial band syndrome.

4. Heel Strike

The vast majority of all runners of all levels are heel strikers. It should be noted heel striking uses less energy than forefoot (toe) striking or midfoot (balls of your feet) striking, which can reduce fatigue and unnecessary overexertion injuries. It’s worth noting Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise published a study with the findings that heel strikers were more prone to running-related knee injuries. But mid and forefoot runners were also subject to injuries — just different injuries than heel strikers. That same research determined mid and forefoot strikers were more likely to injure their achilles tendon, ankle or metatarsals. So, what is the ideal foot strike pattern? The answer is that it depends on you, the runner and each runner is different. Generally speaking we want to make sure that we are trying to land closer to our center of mass to help reduce the braking force of “over striding”. This optimal striking technique for you in this moment can be determined after a running and movement assessment.

5. Vertical Displacement

It is no secret that technique plays a large role in running performance. Vertical displacement refers to how much your center of mass moves up and down while you run. When your vertical displacement is insufficient, it can lead to a premature touchdown of your swing leg or a low center of mass trajectory. However, excessive vertical displacement can also cause runners to expend more energy than necessary. Both of these scenarios can be corrected by changing your stride, which can be accomplished with the help of our physical therapists in the Union Square neighborhood of New York City.

Are you seeking to run at peak performance? At Perfect Stride, we’ll examine your running mechanics and movement to figure out how your running efficiency can be increased to improve performance and reduce your risk of injury. Call us today to find out how you can discover your potential and reach peak performance!

WE TREAT

We treat a wide range of injuries and conditions. However, one things remains common, we are committed to listening to you, optimizing your function and seeking the best outcome possible for you, the individual. Each patient is provided a specific diagnosis and a individualized treatment program.

SERVICES & MORE

We offer a lot more than just Physical Therapy here at Perfect Stride. Our therapists hold numerous advanced certifications and are industry leaders who have been reshaping how Physical Therapy and Movement Intervention is provided. Our team of Performance Physical Therapists not only understand injury inside out, they understand movement and know how to get you back into the game. 

TECHNIQUES & METHODS

Your Physical Therapy experience will be tailored to facilitate an efficient and healthy recovery. Every patient’s treatment plan is structured and designed based on the root cause of their problem; there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our therapists hold numerous advanced certifications and are industry leaders who have been reshaping how Physical Therapy is provided. Treatment at Perfect Stride is always unique to the individual, click on the topic below to learn more.

We understand that making decisions about your health are very important and can be difficult. To better assist you
in making this decision and answering your questions about how Perfect Stride can best help you, we offer FREE 15 minute discovery calls with a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

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