From West 4th Physiotherapy Associate and active runner Dee Malinsky
I get numerous questions in the clinic, relating to running and injury.
A common one is
• Is it bad to run on concrete?
When discussing overuse running injuries, there are 3 possible causes to consider:
(1) intrinsic: faulty biomechanics, muscle dysfunction & tissue frailty
(2) mechanical: training errors (eg. change in load, repetition & range)
(3) extrinsic: running shoes & ground surface
Running on concrete involves all 3 factors but especially the 3rd
Research shows that, in comparison with a soft surface, running on a hard surface does not increase the prevalence of injury. Running on hard surfaces (which promotes “impact moderation behavior”) increases the load on some of our muscles/structures, and decreases the load on others. Similarly, running on a soft surface (which promotes “stability behavior”) will also introduce a combination of positive and negative effects on a body. Gradually adapting to any of these forces can help us to progress, and will minimize overuse injury at the same time.
In review of this most current evidence, presented at a Running Injury Prevention course I recently attended and with my own experience thrown in for good measure, I would conclude that we can adapt to all of these things IF…(wait for it)…we proceed gradually, and with awareness.
THE BODY WILL ADAPT…as long as the applied stress is
not greater than its capacity to adapt.
Our bodies are amazingly adaptable creatures, and our ability to adapt to running—on concrete or trails, in a variety of environments, in shoes or not—is no exception. The key is figuring out, given our own individual preferences and tendencies, as well as our specific physical presentation, how best to proceed, in order to encourage gentle adaptation and to avoid injury. Visit your physiotherapist for a detailed assessment of these items and others, and to come up with a plan of action, for running, work or play…