Running is one of the most convenient and natural activities for those who want to move vigorously. It is a completely natural movement that was once essential for survival. Now, we live in a world where people run for pleasure or exercise. But for some people running is a painful and laborious activity.
As with any sport – especially one that can be taken to an extreme – runners suffer from myriad injuries. The most common* running injuries are runner’s knee, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), and hamstring and hip pain.
If there’s not a structural reason for the pain (like a broken bone) then it’s highly likely that injuries such as these are functional issues – in other words, we need to look at how we use our bodies.
It’s therefore likely that these common injuries are nothing more than a bad case of Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA). SMA occurs when there is a build up of muscle tension to the point where we can no longer feel it anymore. Since we cannot feel the muscle, we cannot move it efficiently, and our movement is adversely affected.
Try this: Stand up and walk around. Now imagine you have just stepped on something sharp. You’re limping around with an uneven gait and perhaps you have hiked your hip and tightened your waist on the injured side. Now try running. It’s not easy, nor is it comfortable. Yet those who have suffered an injury do this in some small way every time they run.
SMA creates an imbalance and affects all aspects of your movement: your coordination, your breathing, your gait, and your joint mobility. Excessive muscle tension in the center of your body creates muscle tension in the periphery (legs, knees, shoulders, neck, feet), excess pressure on joints as well as the potential for further injury and continued discomfort.