Run Analysis with Therapydia NOLA

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary run analysis from Therapydia NOLA in exchange for this blog post. However, all views and opinions are my own.

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I recently had the opportunity to visit Therapydia NOLA and work with their wonderful physical therapist and Clinic Director, Jonathan Burke, DPT for a full Run Analysis. I’ve always, always wanted to do this but never knew where to go or even, what, exactly it entailed. During a previous interview with Jonathan I was able to ask him, “What exactly IS a run analysis?”

“A run analysis is a screening specifically designed to apply to running mechanics. A physical therapist will put markers on you and you’ll run naturally while they observe and take a recording. Afterwards, they’ll use a video analysis coupled with a movement assessment to look at your angles and how you move through the 4 phases of running. We can identify any joint and soft tissue restrictions as well as strength and motor control deficits. The goal is to see how joints across your body move through their necessary ranges of motion and see what injuries you might be at risk for. It’s not just about how your feet hit the ground—your knee, pelvic, and trunk positioning all come into play to when considering your gait. It’s all about getting you to train correctly so your body processes force efficiently as you run. That way, you can prevent future injuries you’re at risk for and prevent joint and muscle overuse.”

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The Run Analysis first started with a full exam to determine strength, flexibility, and body movement patterns. This was very similar to a physical therapy exam you may encounter on your first visit if you’ve suffered an injury. You lay down or sit on the exam table while the therapist puts you through a round of stretches and body movements (squats, side twists, leg raises, hamstring stretches, etc.). At this point, they are evaluating for any weaknesses or pain points you may be experiencing.

I knew my right side was weak due to a past knee injury. I favor that knee a lot and it manifests in a weaker quad. But I’ve been having some hip pain in my left hip flexor as well as tightness in my right back shoulder (from carrying a 30 lb child on my right hip all the time). Jonathan found those immediately and saw the limited range of motion in my trunk (due to the shoulder) and hip.

Next was the treadmill! He placed several blue dots on my right shoe, knee and hip. These were markers for the software to pick up and follow while I was running. He set up the iPad to record my stride as I ran and told me to start up the treadmill slowly and crank it up to a comfortable pace. He recorded my stride for a few minutes from the right side and then the rear.

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I relaxed for several minutes after while Jonathan reviewed the software and wrote up my Run Analysis. You get a nice one-page report analyzing the various phases of a run stride: ankle dorsiflexion, hip flexion, trunk flexion, knee flexion, toe off and contact. Here’s what the analysis told me:

  • I’m a heel striker – yeah, a big one. Ha.
  • My trunk flexion is -2.79°  to 4.12° through all phases when it should be at least 10°. This means that I’m standing up WAY too straight and upright when I run. I need to work on leaning forward more, which takes more stress off my knees and will help promote forefoot striking.
  • My knee flexion is a little below ideal at 37.73°. Ideal is 40°. I’m a foot shuffler and need to work on picking up my heels more.
  • Hip flexion fell a little short before contact, again indicating shuffling, heel striker.

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For a data geek like me the analysis was SO COOL! So much to look at and take in. But Jonathan didn’t leave it at that. He showed me all the good things I was doing too and gave me recommendations to increase glute strength (they were found to be really weak during the initial analysis too) and work on activation exercises to improve stability and motor control. He walked me through a handful of exercises to do at home and printed them out for me to take and work on.

I really learned a lot with this run analysis. I’ve been more conscious about my form on recent runs and have been working on several of the things that Jonathan found: leaning forward, picking up my feet, shortening my stride. I’ve also been doing the exercises he gave me at home several times a week as well as adding plank sessions to build up my core strength.

I highly  recommend setting up an appointment with the folks at Therapydia NOLA for a Run Analysis. It was such an interesting, LEARNING experience. I can only come out of this a better runner.

Therapydia NOLA is located at 2701 Airline Drive, Suite L in Metairie, Louisiana. You can call them at (504) 507-9375 or email them at hello@therapydianola.com to set up an appointment.

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Therapydia NOLA – physical therapy with heart

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary run assessment from Therapydia NOLA in exchange for this blog post. However, all views and opinions are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Therapydia NOLA physical therapy clinic in Metairie, Louisiana to check it out and receive a run assessment. Being a runner with a history of knee issues, I’ve been through my fair share of physical therapy clinics. I know what I like and don’t like in a clinic and I know what will get results out of me. I immediately connected with the staff and atmosphere of Therapydia NOLA. They’re definitely one of the “good guys”.

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One of the first things you notice upon entering the Therapydia NOLA clinic is the friendly staff and the warm, inviting environment. I wasn’t in the door two seconds before I was greeted cheerfully by Heidi Ferry, the office manager. I was immediately offered a bottle of water and introduced around to the therapists in the clinic. They have a nice, little waiting area to sit and relax while you wait for your therapists to work with you.

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But, you won’t be waiting long with the way they schedule their patients. Each patient is scheduled personal time with a therapist and evaluated and re-evaluated for every visit. There’s none of the, “Go start your exercises over there and I’ll be with you in half an hour” mess that you often get with the large physical therapy clinics. It’s very, very personal and one-on-one at Therapydia NOLA. I witnessed therapists standing with and over their patient for that hour, giving them instruction on proper form and getting feedback from the patient on their progress and how they felt. It’s this personalized touch that gets patients to work harder, improve, and gain a greater quality of life back. They have a vested interest in that patient/therapist relationship. The therapists care about each patient’s quality of life.

They consistently have the patient in mind. They will work with your schedule to fit you in when it’s best for your busy life. Want to come before work? No problem. They open early several days of the week. Same thing goes for after work. They often adjust their hours to fit the patient. Heidi works with most insurance companies to take all of the headaches out of filing and paying via insurance. And now you no longer have to have a doctor’s prescription for physical therapy. You can call and schedule with them directly if you develop new (or old, familiar) aches and pains. They will perform a full assessment on you and put together a plan to get you back on track.

I loved too that every therapist was an athlete. They were a well rounded group with a CrossFit coach, triathletes, and runners. I know going into a therapy session with a fellow runner that they’ll understand my concerns and my drive to get back out on the road as soon as possible.

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As part of the assessment I had a change to sit down with the therapists and interview them about the clinic. Below are a few Q&A from the Therapydia NOLA team of physical therapists: Clinic Director Jonathan Burke, DPT, Whitney Braswell, DPT, and Jessica Hernandez, DPT

  1. Tell me a little bit about Therapydia NOLA and the services you offer?

Therapydia NOLA is a physical therapy and wellness clinic that focuses on treating all types of musculoskeletal and nervous system dysfunctions and injuries. We treat a variety of issues ranging from injury rehabilitation to sports-specific conditions as well as long-term chronic conditions. We also do injury prevention screenings to prevent future injuries from happening. Our goal is to work with you to create a unique treatment and wellness program that is designed for you and your body.

  1. What sets you apart from other physical therapy offices?

Treatment at our clinic is provided one-on-one by a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) throughout your entire treatment. We don’t use physical therapy aides or techs, you’ll stay with the physical therapist you’re working with throughout the entirety of your rehabilitation. Manual therapy, or hands-on techniques, is also at the core of our treatment program. Manual techniques are highly specific to the part of your muscle that’s injured and are used to treat soft tissues and joint structures. We use manual therapy as the foundation for treatment and complement it with guided corrective exercises. Our clinic also specializes in offering customized physical therapy services for Women’s Health and Trigger Point Dry Needling.

  1. What would a typical therapy session at Therapydia entail?

We’ll treat your injury by assessing your body’s biomechanics from head to toe. For example, having an ankle injury doesn’t simply mean treating your ankle. You’d have to assess across your lower limbs and core to see which instabilities could be putting extra strain on your ankle. If you come in for an initial evaluation, we’ll perform a screening and depending on your condition look at your range of motion, strength, flexibility, posture, and movement patterns. We’ll take baseline measurements of your movements and use that data to drive our treatment program. We’ll assess and reassess and tailor treatment to your needs throughout the process. For subsequent treatment sessions, exercise-based rehabilitation will be used alongside manual therapy to heal any injured muscles and joints.

  1. What is a run assessment and what are the benefits?

A run assessment is a screening specifically designed to apply to running mechanics. A physical therapist will put markers on you and you’ll run naturally while they observe and take a recording. Afterwards, they’ll use a video analysis coupled with a movement assessment to look at your angles and how you move through the 4 phases of running. We can identify any joint and soft tissue restrictions as well as strength and motor control deficits. The goal is to see how joints across your body move through their necessary ranges of motion and see what injuries you might be at risk for. It’s not just about how your feet hit the groundyour knee, pelvic, and trunk positioning all come into play to when considering your gait. It’s all about getting you to train correctly so your body processes force efficiently as you run. That way, you can prevent future injuries you’re at risk for and prevent joint and muscle overuse.

  1. What advice would you have for a runner dealing with a nagging injury?

Do not continue running through the pain in hopes that it will just go away. Seek out a medical professional that assesses movement to find out what’s at the source of any pain you’re feeling. For example, a nagging and achy knee may be the result of a limitation at the ankle or hip. I would also suggest trying out cross-training. Swimming, cycling, and rowing are great ways to improve cardiovascular endurance. Choose an activity that allows you to perform without pain and supplement this with your running until you are able to run without pain. Often times, athletes say, “I was feeling pretty good so I went for a 3 mile run today” only to end up discouraged because their pain came back. Make sure you have a solid return to a run program following an injury as well. Make sure you work with your movement specialist to work out a training routine that effectively gets you back into running without putting you at risk for injury. At Therapydia NOLA, we use a return to run program that is evidenced based from the University of Maryland.

  1. What’s the number one mistake you see new (and old) runners make?

Blaming any pain or injury on their running shoes or changing shoes to fix the problem. Not having the right type of shoes can contribute to discomfort while you run but the overall source of the pain will have to with your form and biomechanics as you run. Working on your running form and technique will guide you to have a better and injury-free training program.

  1. What is your best advice to prevent common running-related injuries?

I always tell runners to keep to the FIT principle: do not increase frequency, intensity, or time of running too quickly. Your body needs time to adapt to the increased amounts of force that you’ll be putting on your muscles and joints. Keep to proper running progression when increasing distances and keep up a cross-training program on non-running days.

In terms of form, you’ll want to shorten your stride and increase steps per minute (cadence) to reduce stress to your hips and knees during running. Try to land directly under your center of mass to eliminate breaking motion when your foot hits the ground. Make sure you stay upright but lean slightly forward at the trunk with a slight bent knee when your feet land. The hips are an essential area of the body for runners to work on. The musculature of the hips help to stabilize the pelvis during running. The muscles around the hips like the glutes especially keep the pelvis from dropping in single limb support. If this muscle has trouble stabilizing the pelvis then the knee will move inward and the arch of the foot will collapse. This results in improper running form that will be setting putting you at risk of injuring yourself.

Therapydia NOLA was a great physical therapy clinic. I really connected with the staff there and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking physical therapy for an injury or even a run assessment to see where they can improve weaknesses in their form. I’ll be writing up another post shortly on my run assessment and everything it entailed (*hint* it was SUPER interesting!!)

Stay tuned!

Therapydia NOLA is located at 2701 Airline Drive, Suite L in Metairie, Louisiana. You can call them at (504) 507-9375 or email them at hello@therapydianola.com to set up an appointment.