MuvLab-DTC Friday Five. 5 Muscle Groups Every Runner Should Be Stretching

The fall months are one of the most popular times in Colorado for people to compete in running events.  Unfortunately, the demands of training for races often catch up to people and cause injury.  We see a variety of running related injuries in our muvment clinic. We have helped people overcome the following common overuse injuries: plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, IT band syndrome, and shin splints.  Each of these injuries can be treated with a properly designed corrective exercise program.  Each program includes foam rolling, static stretching, activation and functional strength training exercises.  Today we will focus on static stretching, through yoga, to correct imbalances we often see in runners.

1. Calf Stretch / Plantar Fascia
Pain in the calves and feet affect most runners at one point in their running career.  Limited ankle range of motion (ROM) is key contributor to ankle and foot related pain.  Take the time to stretch these tight areas to reduce the risk of injury.

2. Quadriceps
It's reported that knee pain is the number one injury in runners. Over 45% of runners report knee injuries each year.  The quadriceps do a great job at supporting the knee but when they become over active, they can cause serious knee pain.  Below are two stretches that we use to stretch the quads. 

3. Adductors
There is a strong correlation between adductor tightness and hip related injuries in athletes. The adductors are the muscles run down your inner thigh and include the following muslces: 1) Adductor Longus, 2) Adductor Brevis, 3) Adductor Magnus, and 4) Gracilis
Frog pose is great for stretching the adductors.

4. Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings can cause the hips and pelvis to rotate back flattening the lower back and causing back problems. Tight hamstrings can also be responsible for postural problems and other back problems such as sacroiliac joint pain, as they will tend to pull the pelvis out of normal position.

5. Illiotibial Band (IT Band)
The IT Band has become a popular topic when it comes to endurance related injuries.  What exactly is the IT Band and why is it important to address tightness? The IT Band is a tough fibrous tissue that is a continuation of the Tensor Fascia Latte (TFL) muscles that stabilizes the hp. The IT Band runs the length of the femur and connects to the tibia.  Pain from IT Band tightness can be felt from the knee to the hip, typically on the lateral aspect of the leg.

It's important to remember that the body is a kinetic chain.  Tightness in one muscle group may lead to imbalances and dysfunction.  If you're experiencing pain while running give us a call to set up a movement efficiency screening. Our screening process will teach you where your movement is being compromised.  We will then help you develop a strategy to get you back to pain free running!