Almost anyone who runs long distances knows that injuries are common in runners. Some may not realize that when compared to many other types of sports or recreational activities, long distance running has a higher injury rate. For every 1000 hours of training, runners get approximately 10 injuries1. The most common types of running-related injury are muscle injuries and the knee is the most commonly affected area. These running-related injuries will recur 20-70% of the time and they can lead to a reduction in training or a cessation of training 30-90% of the time2.
What do you do when you are having pain during or after a run? What you will do is ignore it, because you are a runner. You deal with minor aches and pains daily because you run and ignoring something that is just a little more sore than usual is easy for most runners. You will only make that appointment when it starts to affect your training. You don’t want to be told to stop running because you know that you won’t listen anyway. So where do you go and what do you do? Overuse injuries may not respond to medications. I believe that the best decision is to seek out a healthcare provider that specializes in Sports Medicine who is also certified in Graston Technique. Healthcare providers that perform Graston Technique include chiropractic physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers.
Graston Technique is considered Instrument Assist Soft Tissue Mobilization and is an extremely popular type of treatment in the world of sports. It is used in over 431 professional and amateur sports organizations, including half of the teams in the NFL, NBA and MLB. Amateur organizations that use it include Division I colleges, like the Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, as well as each of the Olympic Training Centers. It involves using specially designed stainless steel instruments to help the healthcare provider find and treat areas that have scar tissue or fascial restrictions. Both the patient and the clinician will feel where these fascial restrictions occur during treatment and therapy can be directed at these areas while trying to reduce pain and increase the patient’s restrictive ranges of motion. When treating soft tissue injuries, discomfort can occur whether you are using a foam roller, VooDoo Floss or receiving Graston Technique treatments. Occasionally, bruising or soreness can occur after a treatment as well, but it is temporary.
Acute or chronic injuries can be treated with Graston Technique and it can be especially effective when combined with other techniques like Kinesio Taping, chiropractic manipulation, joint mobilization, stretching and/or therapeutic exercises. An acute injury would be something like a muscle strain or joint sprain. Chronic injuries would be overuse injuries like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis/fasciosis, iliotibial band syndrome, patellar tendinitis or patellofemoral tracking disorders. It also can help with other problems that are not as common in runners, like rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, neck pain, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome as well as post-surgical scars, including post-mastectomy and cesarean scarring. All of these problems can be alleviated by treatment that includes Graston Technique.
But how in the world can Graston Technique help you PR? The reason is because of the other benefits that Graston Technique delivers. Besides helping you recover naturally, without the use of medications, shots or surgery, Graston Technique has the capability of decreasing the time of treatment, speeding rehabilitation and recovery and even resolving chronic conditions that people think might be permanent. Again, running long distances has inherent risk of injury that often requires a reduction in the amount of training or giving up on training completely as rest is obviously something that would help. But rest does not help someone who wants to qualify for Boston. It is extremely common for me to be able to help someone recover from the injury without having them slow down. That is how it can help you get a new personal record in a race. You do not necessarily need to back off on your training when you have a goal of shattering your best time in a race.
When you combine Graston Technique with other techniques like Kinesio Taping, it really seems to help a patient recover while still pushing themselves to run harder and faster. Using Graston Technique, I have helped endurance athletes qualify for the Boston Marathon despite struggling with injuries. I’ve used Graston Technique to help endurance athletes finish their first Ironman. Older athletes in their 60s and 70s who’ve been hobbled by injuries over the years always light up as they tell me about how they were passing the 30-year-olds again. I’ve witnessed Graston Technique help an experienced runner beat their PR in a half marathon by nine minutes because they were able to continue running when a knee issue should have sidelined them.
Any runner that has pain during or after a run should be evaluated by a clinician with a specialty in sports medicine in order to determine the actual cause of their pain. After the cause of the pain has been determined, then Graston Technique may be one of the methods used to help a runner regain their stride. Because running can be hard on a body, many runners find that they like to get treated with Graston Technique on occasion as a supplement to the normal body maintenance activities that they do, like foam rolling and stretching They find it is easier to head off a problem than it is to recover after they have been fully injured. You can find a certified Graston Technique clinician on the “Locate A Provider” page at www.grastontechnique.com.
- Hespanhol Junior LC, Pena Costa LO, Lopes AD. Previous injuries and some training characteristics predict running-related injuries in recreational runners: a prospective cohort study. J Physiother. 2013 Dec;59(4):263-9.
- van Mechelen W. Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Med. 1992 Nov;14(5):320-35. Review.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DR. ROYER
Dr. Bryan D. Royer has been practicing chiropractic medicine in the Toledo area since 2005. He graduated summa cum laude as the class salutatorian from the National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in 2004. He has a specialty in Sports Medicine and has certification as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®). Dr. Royer is certified in Graston Technique® and he is also a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner™ (CKTP™). He is also a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and he has been voted “Best in Toledo” by readers of the city paper five times. More information on Graston Technique can also be found on Dr. Royer’s website here.