Runners have injuries from the way they run while hitting an uneven surface on the road or on the trail which produces a painful problem for them. The most frustrating thing for them is to find a solution so they stop hurting.
When we evaluate people for running injuries, most of the tests we perform in-office give us a good deal of information and the procedure is to evaluate, treat, challenge, treat and repeat. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have an appropriate way for a doctor to appropriate an hour of their time to enable them to go through all the possibilities with a patient.
I have done this often by taking care of them, having them run around the block a few times, and then reevaluate to see if the problem we are taking care of resolved. It is still quite difficult to use the insurance model to give adequate time to fulfill the needs of a patient. Some doctors, like myself, will schedule the patient at a time where they can give the time ( not reimbursed ) to adequately test out the problem until the patient finally feels relief on that visit.
Patients bring in videos of them on the track. It allows me to see how they are running and to spot possible problems that my other analysis would not see. Ultimately, the best tool to have is a treadmill, which allows this analysis to take place without having to follow the runner.
This past weekend, I had a patient who was having a problem after stepping on something during a run that twisted her ankle. She stated that her calf by the knee was painful after the incident. Her past two visits to our office were helpful but she still had to stop running after a mile or so due to pain. I suggested she get on the treadmill after working on her problem. After turning up the speed, it was obvious her lower body stride was good but the upper body had much more rotation on one side than the other. I worked on a number of things and had her get on the treadmill again. I was determined to help her get through her race in two weeks, and time was not on our side. After working on her upper body and her hip flexors, she noticed that her calf began to get sore again but felt greatly improved. On the treadmill, her upper body was moving more appropriately and more symmetrically. She also noticed she was not working as hard.
Using the treadmill to diagnose and assist in treatment.
This is an example of treadmill diagnosis and treatment. The treadmill allowed me to see her problems on a short video while she ran in place, something you cannot do on a track. I also looked at her symmetry in both the upper and lower body as her speed increased on the treadmill. Symmetry in runners is vitally important for how we impact the ground and how efficiently we run.
Treadmills are often used to sell running shoes at stores such as RoadRunner, although they are often not used diagnostically. This type of problem in the upper body would surely have been missed without visually watching the person on the treadmill.
Chiropractic sports physicians are uniquely qualified since they are primary care for musculoskeletal problems and evaluate from a holistic point of view. This means they will look at you, not just the painful area. To fully understand, prevent and properly treat injuries, you and the doctor must understand why you are in pain and address the cause, rather than the symptom. I full-body approach to care results in better runs, fewer symptoms, and improvements in running style as you are able to move better. A problem that developed into a poor running style over many years may take time to correct, but years later will result in fewer injuries, better running times, and experiences.
Treadmills if used properly can help diagnose running and other problems in the general public. If you have difficulty diagnosing a problem in the shins, back, or legs, ask for a treadmill evaluation.
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