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    Focus on Running: How To Use Good Body Mechanics to Run Faster and Prevent Injuries

    Focus on Running: How To Use Good Body Mechanics to Run Faster and Prevent Injuries

    family running

    Basic tips to ensure you’re running properly, whether you run on the street, track, trail or treadmill:


    • Keep your knee in line. Make sure your foot strikes under your knee, not in front of it, especially when running downhill.


    • Push up and off. Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you.


    • Relax your hands. Keep your hands loose and below your chest. Make sure they don’t cross your midline or punch forward, which can throw off your gait. If you’re carrying a music player or a dog leash, switch hands halfway through, if possible.


    • Work your core. Start working on core strength, particularly glutes and abdominal muscles. A strong core makes it easier to stay upright and avoid leaning too far forward from your hip, which can lead to injury.


    See for more information.


    “According to recent data, most runners with injuries have been running less than three years, and 42 percent of running injuries involve the knee,” says Intermountain Riverton Hospital

    , Pam Dibblee, PT, DPT, OCS.


    “The evidence indicates, the most efficient runners land on the mid-foot and take about 180 steps per minute. Count your steps per minute and try to gradually increase the number. Increasing the cadence by 5 percent can decrease the load on your body by 10 percent,” says Dibblee.


    A survey says 40 percent of running injuries involve the knee

    About 40 percent of running injuries are knee injuries. And 13 percent of runners suffered knee pain in the past year, according to 4,500 respondents to a recent poll.


    What is runner’s knee?


    A common injury, called “runner’s knee,” is patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), an irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Risk factors include over-pronation (excessive inward foot rolling) and weak quads, hips, or glutes.


    Runners with knee pain may find running uphill less painful, and it has the added value of working the glutes. Strong gluteal muscles help control hip and thigh movement, preventing the knees from turning inward. Bicycling may speed your recovery by strengthening the quads.


    How can shortening your running stride help decrease knee pain?


    If you have knee pain when running, Bryan Heiderscheit, PhD, PT, director of the University of Wisconsin Runners' Clinic, recommends shortening your stride length and landing with the knee slightly bent, which can take up to 30 percent of the load off the joint.


    Count the number of steps you take per minute and increase it by 5 to 10 percent per minute. Keep your knee tracking correctly by strengthening your knee's support muscles like quads and glutes with exercises like lateral side-steps and squats. It's also important to stretch your hip flexors.


    What are other common running injuries?


    To learn more about other common running injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, shin splints and achilles tendinitis, see


    If you practice proper running form, you’ll run better. Who knows? It might give you the courage to try a low-key local race, even if you’ve never run one before.


    Free Runners’ Clinic and Family 5K Race entry offered May 19 at Intermountain Riverton Hospital


    Intermountain Riverton Hospital is offering free entry to their June 11 Family 5K Race (a $15 value) to people who attend a free Runners’ Clinic led by a physical therapist on Thursday, May 19, from 6-7 p.m. at the hospital’s Riverton/Herriman conference rooms, 1st floor, building 2, north end of the hospital.


    Pam Dibblee, PT, DPT, OCS, will teach beginning and intermediate runners what they need to know about stretching, flexibility, strength, hydration and common running injuries and how to prevent them. She’ll also answer specific running questions. Dibblee will teach stretches and exercises, so wear comfortable clothing. Free healthy snacks will be served!


    If you can’t make the workshop, you can still sign up your family/team/group for the 5K race at Cost is $15 for single registration, $25 for two people, $45 for a family or group of 6. Register at Participants who register by June 10 will receive a race shirt, chip timing, and finisher’s medal. The Family 5K race will be Saturday, June 11, at 8 a.m. south of the hospital.