We as physical therapists are a natural fit for providing movement analysis for patients with biomechanical faults. With our educational background and clinical experience we are able to provide a complete assessment for the running athlete while also being effective in providing interventions to address the athlete’s inefficiencies. This past Tuesday (my birthday and election day for those who are paying attention) I had an opportunity to speak with two exceptional movement scientists on the topic of run analysis and how physical therapy played a role in performing these assessments. Now I have spoken to many physicians, running coaches, and thousands of patients regarding motion analysis and how physical therapists may use certain tools to properly create treatment plans to make people pain free and more efficient athletes but what was interesting about this talk on Tuesday is that we broadcast it “live” on the internet. This was somewhat intimidating but also exciting to know that we could answer questions from anyone around the world throughout this 60-minute slot.
Throughout the talk I not only shared my ideas and concepts of what movement analysis would comprise for a runner but I also learned a great deal from Nicole and Chris. Some of the gems from our Google + hangout were without a proper history and subjective exam we cannot provide an accurate or efficient assessment for interventions with our patients. What does that mean? Without a defined start point of how that athlete or patient presents to us how are we as health care providers able to determine positive change? Or any change for that matter. Chris mentioned collecting his athlete’s behaviors both past and present and making changes to “habits”. I love this and will from now on steal this in my practice to educate patients on changing their lifestyle habits rather than performing executed medical prescriptions in stretching or strengthening. (Thanks Chris) Nicole stated that as physical therapists our educational background includes studying the “whole body across many systems” & it is our (magical) ability to juggle all of these systems in our head while we have a patient sitting in front of us or moving in front of us. Then with a quick wave of our wand we make medical decisions on how to intervene with the patient or athletes apparent functional limitations.
Something that physical therapists utilize that you won’t get in a running store or from your local personal trainer is evidence-based medicine. What is evidence based medicine (EBM)? EBM is the process of systematically reviewing, appraising and using clinical research findings to aid the delivery of optimum clinical care to patients. These research studies are often performed over many years and with thousands of patients…. The choices that Physical therapists make based on EBM gives you the best care!
“Doesn’t matter what tools you have, it’s the clinician who makes the decisions with those tools & applies a differential diagnosis that is the most useful – Nicole”
One of the biggest messages from this talk was that no matter what fancy machines are used, or how amazing the high-speed video cameras are the patient or athlete will not get the most complete analysis and assessment without a good clinician. So what makes a good clinician you may be asking? Someone who has taken multiple courses on biomechanics, understands the body as a complete system, and someone who has worked with thousands of higher level patients who perform at a faster speed than your typical activity of daily living.
Another topic of discussion was patient testing coupled with the run analysis. All members of the discussion mentioned that physical therapists are able to properly test strength, range of motion, functional mobility and muscular symmetry more than many other health care providers and this allows for proper interventions to address biomechanical weaknesses. Plain and simple: If you have pain with movement the best person to see is a qualified physical therapist! It is our job as movement scientists to help people move pain free and more efficiently.
“Shoes can’t fix your running- Chris”
As Dr. Powers states “you have to be fit to run, you should not run to get fit”. Take home message from this whole talk is find a good therapist, get a through examination, and prepare yourself for success by building a foundation of knowledge, flexibility, strength and motor control. Internal limitations in joint mobility and strength cannot be fixed with fancy shoes or compression braces. “Running is not easy” as Chris enlightens us.
Now if you have the time to watch the video I have attached it to this blog and if you have further questions regarding the content or possibly are interested in having a run analysis performed you can contact me at the office via phone or via email at Jason@therapydiaportland.com.