3 Reasons Runners Need to See a Physical Therapist
The other day I did an IG live with Amy from The Running Dietitian (go back and watch it!!) and something that came up was the fact that you can go see a Physical Therapist without going to your Family Physician or Ortho or Sports Med Doc first.
In case you were wondering, yes that is true. Now there are some caveats to this such as the state that you live in and the insurance you have. But for the most part, you can see a physical therapist whenever you want. Especially if you find a cash-based physical therapist who will probably be your best bet.
But why would you go to a physical therapist in the first place? Do you only need to see a physical therapist if you are injured?
Absolutely not! I’m going to go over my top 3 reasons you should go see a physical therapist and two of them are when you aren’t even dealing with an injury!
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#1 When You Have Pain You Should See a Physical Therapist
Niggles, naggles, and pain. Oh My!
Runners tend to constantly have some sort of issue. Distance running has the same movements with the same muscles doing the same thing over and over again. But things to be on the lookout for past the general aches and soreness are sharp pain, pain that doesn’t go away after a few miles, or any minor aches that last for more than a week.
Some of the most common running injuries that I tend to see in the clinic are Achilles Tendinopathy, Plantar Fasciopathy, Runner’s Knee, and IT band Syndrome. All of these and many more can either be caught before they manifest into a lot of pain or fixed fairly easily if treated early.
That isn’t to say they can’t be treated if you wait several months to go see a physical therapist it just means it might take more work and longer to see full results.
This leads to my next point of going to see a PT even if you don’t have pain to prevent injuries!
#2 You Don’t Have to be Injured to See a Physical Therapist
In an ideal world, we would all visit a physical therapist every 6 months to a year for a check-up whether we have pain or not.
Physical Therapists aren’t only good at fixing injuries we are also great at preventing them before they form. In case this is your first article here that is the whole point of this blog actually!
Pain and injuries can be months and even years in the making. Injury and pain are manifestations of altered mechanics that existed prior to the injury. My job as a physical therapist is to dive deep and find these alterations and fix them before they manifest into more.
#3 Get a Gait Analysis Done
In my opinion every runner should have a regular gait analysis done. In an ideal world (again) this would be done at your yearly check up with your physical therapist.
I don’t mean going to a running store and getting it done there. While that is a decent tool for shoe selection, it isn’t the comprehensive injury prevention analysis that I’m referring to.
A good running gait analysis by a physical therapist can provide a load of information. It can identify your unique movement patterns, diagnose issues causing current or potential pain, and implement treatments to correct abnormalities. That is why a physical therapist is best for a gait analysis because we can do all that at your check-up….. as well as suggest the best running shoe for you.
Final Thoughts on Why You Need a Physical Therapy Appointment
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Why Runners Need to See a Physical Therapist
Dr. Abby Siler, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with 10 years of experience in a variety of settings. She has spent the majority of her time treating athletes in orthopedic clinics and worker’s compensation cases. She is a runner herself for the past 15 years and a lifelong athlete. Dr. Abby loves to teach runners how to stay injury free and out of her clinic.