by Dr. Tim Maggs
Despite having an injury-based website, I worry when people begin searching the internet for answers. The 6 doctors they've been to don't know the answer, so why would a nameless, faceless web page feed them the magic bullet. Especially when most doctors with information on the internet were taught the same thing as the 6 doctors they've already been to. Unless they find my webpage, which always has, at least, a different answer. And, I happen to think they're even better.
The Road Less Traveled
As I've said so many times, in order to correct most running injuries, you have to start from a correct premise; the premise that the injury will go away on it’s own if given enough time is an incorrect premise, therefore, will only lead you down a helpless road. If you start with the understanding that most running injuries are due to structural imbalances, then the path leads to a more successful solution.
Here are my top 10 Laws to staying uninjured.
1) Buy shoes appropriate for your foot type---go to Fleet Feet.
2) Get custom fitted orthotics---full body biomechanics is the most critical piece of the puzzle for all runners who want to stay injury free. This minor investment will begin the process, and it's painless.
3) Don't wait until you're broken---We've been programmed to not do anything until we're sick or injured. Most doctors are unable to do anything for you unless you're sick or injured. But, for better results, you must change that thinking. Structural wellness is a management issue, and just as your car needs management, so does your structure. The better management of your structure, the less likelihood of a breakdown.
4) Don't ask your insurance company for directions---Again, we've all been taught to first ask what our insurance company will cover, and then decide what course of action we wish to take. This approach is ludicrous, as you have now also broken rule #1. Insurance company guidelines are for the general population, are determined on cost, not correction, and was never designed for conditioned athletes. We MUST do apply a different set of standards for our structures, or our athletic careers will follow the path of obesity in this country.
5) Manage your muscles better---listen to them, aid them in better warm-ups and more complete recoveries. They will either make or break your career. Buy The Stick and/or a foam roller, and use it everyday.
6) Structural or biomechanical imbalances and distortions are the cause of MOST running injuries---again, the reason many x-ray reports come back negative from your doctor, ("negative" meaning there's nothing wrong), is because medical x-rays look for pathology or fractures, and in most cases, these are not the causes of running injuries. They may be contributing factors, but are typically not the cause of running injuries. They are always due to biomechanical imbalances and faults.
7) Biomechanics exists above the ankles---there is a newer movement in sportsmedicine, called sports biomechanics, and these are the docs and therapists who recognize the importance of viewing the entire structure from an architectural perspective. Orthodontists have educated the public to understand and appreciate mis-alignments of teeth. Any family with children and no orthodontia bills is a rarity today. If this is true, how can we ever begin to think our muscular and skeletal systems are perfectly balanced and functioning the best they can? The truth is, they're not; they're imbalanced, locked, distorted and degenerating prematurely. Unless you have gotten an exam and a status report, you'll never quite know where your distortions lie or how severe they are. You'll just join most other runners and break down. We recommend a Structural Fingerprint® Exam.
8) Standing structural X-Rays are mandatory---75% of the structural information we get in an exam comes from the standing x-ray. Information like your center of gravity, your pelvic angle, your hip heights, alignment of your spine, curves of your spine from the side views, etc. can only be determined from x-rays influenced by gravity. So, if you need x-rays, ask your doctor if they would mind taking them standing (you, that is. It doesn't matter what position your doctor's in).
9) Only a biomechanics doctor can detect biomechanical problems---you cannot go to a medical doctor and hope they'll locate your biomechanical defects. And don't blame them if they can't help you. They're trained to look for and address pathology, not biomechanics. You need a doc who x-rays for biomechanical information.
10) Only a biomechanics doctor can help correct biomechanical problems---structural imbalances, fixations and distortions can improve dramatically, but you must work with someone skilled in locating and correcting them. Again, you don't ask your family doctor to help with your child's crooked teeth, likewise, don't ask them to help with your structural defects.
As I tell my patients, in order to begin the path of improvement, start with learning your Structural Fingerprint®. This exam will locate your specific imbalances, then a program for correction can begin. To wait until you're symptomatic before doing anything puts you back into the mediocre masses. Remember, our goal is to run to our grave at 105. Have a great month.
Dr. Maggs can be reached at RunningDr@aol.com, or by calling his Schenectady office at 518.393.6566.