by Sara Bresnick, PT
A large percentage of patients I see at Boston Sports Medicine are athletes. As Physical Therapists, a big part of our job involves problem solving. A patient will come in with an injury, and we have to take a thorough history and try to decide not only what the issue is, but also why the problem started in the first place. By figuring out these two very important details, we then formulate a plan to both heal the injury, and also prevent it from occurring again.
An important factor that is often overlooked by the patient is Equipment. When trying to figure out why an injury occurred, the patient and therapist should always consider equipment. With a runner; I mean sneakers. With a cyclist; I mean bicycle/shoes/cleats. The more repetitive the activity is, the more important looking at equipment becomes.
As part of the history I always ask, have you changed your footwear lately? Have you increased your miles? How old are your shoes? Has someone performed a proper bike fit? When I complete a bicycle fit for a client I always let them know this important fact: If you pedal at 90 revolutions per minute (per leg), and you ride for an hour: 90rpm x 60min = 5400 pedal strokes per leg per hour. You are easily between both legs pedaling 10,000 pedal strokes per hour. The same can be applied for running and foot plants/strides per workout. If your equipment isn’t set up properly, or you don’t have the proper equipment, you are going to be in trouble.
For athletes, it is important to always keep this in mind. Don’t let your running shoes get too old. Replace them as necessary. Don’t buy running shoes, simply because they are on sale. Make sure your bike is the correct size and it is fitted properly. If you pay attention to this part of the equation, you may be able to avoid injury and Physical Therapy in the first place.
Sara Bresnick is a Physical Therapist at Boston Sports Medicine