Physical Therapy Running Gait Retraining for Knee Pain
In our Boulder Physical Therapy Practice, gait retraining is an effective intervention to reduce the abnormal forces which perpetuate many overuse running injuries. Athletes are videotaped by Physical Therapists for bio-mechanical faults including alignment, stride length, step rate, and running technique. The athlete is then given real time feedback to correct the faults associated with their respective injury. In the example above, the athlete demonstrates improved pelvic stability and knee control using the real time feedback. These gait retraining treatments are gaining momentum in the literature with more studies demonstrating their effectiveness among various running injuries.
A recent article examined the impact of gait retraining by a Physical Therapist on 16 patients with knee pain (Roper et al. 2016). Athletes were randomized to either a gait retraining group or a control group. Those in the gait retraining group received 8 feedback sessions over 2 weeks allowing the athletes to improve their running form and reduce impact forces across their knees. Conversely, those in the control group ran for the same duration of time but were not provided any verbal feedback. The benefits of the gait training were found immediately after treatment and one month after their last treatment session.
Runners with knee pain are encouraged to follow up with a local Physical Therapist to both reduce their pain and improve their running technique.