STOP Chasing Pain!

Runners, please STOP treating only your symptoms! Dan Pfaff, arguably one of the greatest track and field coaches of our time, eloquently uses an analogy to describe his approach to treating the cause of pain/pathology in his athletes.

“One of the analogies I use to describe my approach to sports medicine is that joints are pulleys; connective tissue (muscle, tendons, ligaments) are ropes; and this pulley system is driven by a computer. To achieve high performance (or improve Resiliency) you have to do correct therapy to rehab and prehab the ropes so they do not fray. You have to ensure the pulleys are clean so that everything can slide efficiently and then you have to clean up any viruses in the computer program to remove guarding or dysfunctional movement patterns. If you get away from that trinity you are doomed to failure.”

Plantar fasciitis, stress reactions, achilles tendinopathy, anterior knee pain, ITB syndrome, low back pain etc., are great examples of types of pathology that runners commonly deal with in a given year. Runners, it is important to understand that those areas of pathology are symptoms of a greater dysfunction. Nothing ever happens in isolation during human locomotion, therefore, find the dysfunctional link(s) in the chain and treat the cause of your pain. Those causes vary rarely occur at the actual site of your pain/pathology.

Running is a complex pattern of movements requiring coordination and timing that continually needs addressing to ensure optimal efficiency. If you are only treating the site of pain you can guarantee, sooner than later, you will be on the sideline always looking for relief. Getting better is a process, learn from it, be proactive, and don’t look for the quick fixes.

The next blog post will describe the pattern of running in more detail, and offer you drills that may help to increase your running resiliency!

 Enjoy the Process!

Dr. Moreno has experience with runners including Olympians, US Champions and Olympic Trials qualifiers in events from the 800 meters to the Marathon. You can find Jeff working with runners from elite, high school, college, to the recreational levels at Precision Physical Therapy and Precision Sports Performance.