Running Technique and Acupuncture
I like to run and I made the transition to “mid-foot” running about a year ago. Often when I mention mid-foot running in conversation somebody asks, “oh do you wear those crazy shoes with the individual toes”? For the record I don’t wear the toe shoes but I do wear minimalist shoes that fit my feet well and support mid-foot technique.
The reason runners are wearing strange looking shoes lately isn’t for a fashion “me too”. Well maybe a little. But Ideally the trendy shoes help runners engage in running technique that’s more natural to the human body, more efficient and less damaging to joints.
With mid-foot technique the runner strikes the ground somewhere between the balls of the feet and the arch and the heel touches the ground softly. With each step the foot strikes the ground right under the hip. There’s a lot more technique to it than that and it varies a bit depending on your running form guru of choice. More on running gurus later.
If you’re going to transition to mid-foot running I’d like to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself. Your feet and legs are built for it but to avoid injury I recommend slowly retraining them over a period of weeks. Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for as you change your form. And call me quickly if these show up.
- Stubborn pain on either edge of your shin bone(Tibia) – “Shin Splints”
- Persistent pain in the bottom of the foot – Plantarfasciitis, tendonosis in the big toe flexor, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Persistent pain of the Achilles tendon - Tendonosis of the Achilles tendon
- Persistent pain just behind the ball of the foot in line with the fourth toe – possible stress fracture.
Many of these injuries are due to postural misalignment. The good news is that alignment problems are usually easy to correct. It’s most common that alignment issues stem from chronic muscle imbalances. That said, most alignment problems can be corrected with motor point acupuncture and alignment correction exercise.
The transition to mid-foot running is not for the meek but I believe it’s worth it. If you agree please seek out advice and gear as I’ve listed below.
5 Steps to Ensure Your Running Success
- Get your body alignment checked by a sports therapy professional before you start the transition. Me!
- Pick a running guru and read their book thoroughly. I recommend “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer
- Get acupuncture and massage to relieve discomfort in your legs and feet.
- Don’t just run for exercise – do cross-training.
- Take a mid-foot running form seminar. Ben Boyd of Effortless Running is a great San Diego resource
Getting your alignment checked including your feet is very important. I’m happy to help and I’ll share with you some key therapeutic exercises that result in happiness while running as opposed to expensive, invasive medical procedures.
See you soon!
Michael Julien, L.Ac.