Three things you should know about chiropractic for runners

Ryan Todd Lloyd, DCSan Francisco Chiropractor

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Humans are made for walking and running. And compared to other animals, we can run long distances through the mid day sun. We have endurance. Our bodies are made to run. Our feet allow it. Our ankles allow it. Our pelvic structure is there for it.

But sometimes the way you function can interfere with the way you run. You might have a hang up in your ankle, or your knee might be twisted a certain direction. You might have noticed recently that your knees have started to hurt when you run. Well, if that’s the case, then here are three things you need to know about how chiropractic care can help you for running.

If you’ve been in the clinic to see me, then you have probably gotten your ankles mobilized at the end of your treatment. One important reason for this is that I want you to have fluid and springy group reaction forces. Every step that you take, your foot and ankle collapses into a flat arch and a pronated and everted ankle. This is a controlled collapse that absorbed the energy of your heal-or mid foot-strike. And as you collapse the structure of your foot, you immediately spring it back into a ridged and springy arch. A strong structure forms that help propel you forward with stored energy.

If there is any hang-up in the way this all works, then you won’t enjoy the proper ground-reaction forces. You’ll compensate. You’ll go lop-sided. Manipulation to your foot and ankles can restore the way the bones and joint in your feet work together.

Chiropractic care helps keep your legs symmetrical from left to right. If you have one ankle that doesn’t dorsiflex very well on one side, you’ll invariably have some asymmetry from one side to the other. You should be able to imagine that this can cause pain and, even worse, arthritis in one knee or hip. Or maybe it will manifest as one TFL being tighter than the other. Usually the knees suffer because of this. Manipulation helps.

And another important part to consider is your pelvis symmetry and motion. Every step you take requires that your sacroiliac joints (SI joints) move very slightly. And the pelvis where the SI joints live is an important attachment point for the muscles in your core and in your legs. If the pelvis and lumbar spine is off a bit, then the muscles that attach to this area will become inhibited. This will completely throw off your running game. Get your low back adjusted, and see how prober biomechanics feels.

Whenever a patient of mine admits that he’s a runner, I always tell him to throw off his shoes so I can check the way his foot and ankle moves on each side. If you are a runner, you need to have good ground reaction forces, good symmetry, and good pelvis structure. If not, you might start to feel it in ways that you shouldn’t.

Ryan Todd Lloyd, DC

I'm a chiropractor who specializes in correcting and relieving back and neck disorders. I have found that when you increase the mobility of your spine and joints with chiropractic care and follow up with this with improving muscle coordination with targeted exercises,then improving your function will also improve your pain.