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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


Chiropractic Keeps You Running

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Chiropractic Care

I had the opportunity to speak at the ORRRC meeting in November, 2004. I explained how a chiropractor can keep you running by always looking for balance in your structure. When I examine someone, I literally look at them from the feet right up to the head. Posture is extremely important and can affect how well you are able to run, as well as the injuries you might sustain. If you have one-sided pain, such as in one hip, one side of your back or one knee, you may be out of balance and trying to compensate for structural imbalances.

One of the most common reasons to be out of balance is a short leg. It is reported that at least 50% of the population have a short leg. Many of you will compensate and accommodate for this and be just fine. However, running creates extreme amounts of repetition and force with each step you take. If we assume that you have a three foot long stride when you run, you will have 46,000 strides to complete a marathon. That is 23,000 strides or reps per leg! On top of that, we know that each leg sustains 3-4 times your body weight upon impact. No wonder repetitive injuries are so common.

Leg length inequality and posture is extremely crucial for a runner. We evaluate this by performing a postural examination and first look at feet for pronation or supination. We look at the alignment of the knees and then the hips. The hips are the focal point where a short leg will manifest. Examination then goes on to evaluate the spine, the level of the shoulders and the level of the ears and posture of the head. Also we look at if you have too much curvature in your low back, rounded shoulders or carrying your head forward. We take standing x-rays of your pelvic area and measure your leg length. This then tells me if you have a short leg and whether it is functional or anatomical. A functional short leg means that the legs are actually the same length, but something else has gone awry. It may be that a dropped arch on one leg makes the leg look shorter, which is then treated with orthotics. It may be that the hips are out of alignment, primarily at the sacroiliac joint or lower spine. We treat this through manipulation to balance the pelvis and hips.

If you have a structural short leg, this means that the leg is actually shorter. Sometimes this can happen from trauma such as in my own case when I broke my leg at 14 years old at the growth plate. I lost a 1/4 inch in my right leg and must wear a heel lift inside my shoe to balance my leg and pelvis. Without any broken bones, you may have just developed this especially through puberty years. Our bodies are not symmetrical; it is not unusual for one leg to grow more than the other. Once again, this may require heel lift therapy to achieve balance in your hips and spine. This can be as simply as placing a small lift inside your running shoe, which is easily tolerated. Short leg problems can cause a wide variety of aches and pains for runners. It is difficult to predict where you may experience pain as a result of this. However, typically the long leg tends to work harder than the short leg. This may result in hip/buttock pain or knee pain on the long leg. There may be a collapsed arch on the short leg, causing more foot pain. I have learned that it is best not to predict, but simply observe and work to bring your body back into balance.

I love to run. I credit chiropractic medicine with keeping me going. If you're reading this, I know you love to run as well. Chiropractic care may be one more tool to keep you going!

Copyright © 2008 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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