Traditionally, chiropractic has been seen as a profession that addresses only pain and dysfunction in the spine. But in order to properly assess the spine, the extremities, and specifically for runners, the lower extremities must be examined as well.
Runners suffer from a number of aches and pains ranging from plantar fasciitis to IT band syndrome to piriformis syndrome (in the buttock). A common thread, though, for many of these injuries is that they can often be traced back to or complicated by imbalances of the hip joints.
Keeping our joints aligned is similar to keeping the alignment of a car. Without proper car alignment, tires will undergo quick and uneven wear and tear. The same can be said of uneven pressure on the joints.
The pelvis takes on a lot of stress as it is the fulcrum of the body. It, therefore, is vulnerable to being pulled out of alignment from lower extremity wear and tear, muscle imbalances and even previous injuries. The opposite can occur as well, as an imbalance of the pelvis can affect the length and function of the muscles of the lower extremity, resulting in some of the aforementioned injuries.
There are a few clues that can indicate a realignment of the hips is in order. Take note of uneven wear on sneakers, discrepancy in leg length, pain at the SI joint (where the pelvis and sacrum meet), and muscular and/or joint pain in the lower extremities.
Manual adjustments of the pelvis are a great start to getting things back in working order. Pelvic and extremity adjustments may often be accompanied with some deep tissue work, as well as some reeducation of the muscles for stability and injury prevention. For a greater chance at a long and pain free running career, look to healthy hip alignment.
Remember, it is easier to put out a little bonfire than a wildfire….so be sure to address any of these issues before they evolve into more complicated problems!