Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor

Five Must-Have Movements for Pain-Free Running

Runners get injured a lot.

Want proof? Here are the stats¹:

  • 65 percent of runners injured each year
  • 1 injury for every 100 hours of running per runner
  • 5-10 percent of workouts missed per year due to injury
  • Novice runners more likely to be injured
  • About half of injuries are recurring

Do you want to know which one is the most bothersome to me? The last – 50% of injuries are recurring. That tells me one of two things: your injury isn’t being properly diagnosed (and subsequently treated properly) or you’re being seriously misguided by someone’s advice [this does not exclude your own]. The good news? We can help with both!

We truly don’t want you to suffer from something you greatly enjoy, so here are some tests you can do to make sure your body is primed to hit the pavement this spring! (Need more guidance on a test or more information when symptoms are elicited? Click the title to be taken directly to that blog post.)

Ankle Dorsiflexion

  1. Stand close to a wall, placing one foot a few inches away from the wall and one foot behind you in a staggered stance about shoulder width apart.
  2. Put your hands on the wall for support and adjust to get in a comfortable position keeping weight on both feet.
  3. Bend the front knee and lean weight forward until the knee touches the wall.
  4. Any assessment that fails to meet normal range of motion increases your chance of injury this season. The most common reason these tests are restricted is adhesion. In order to fix adhesion, manual therapy is necessary.
  5. Continue to move back away from the wall until the knee can no longer touch without the heel coming off the ground.
  6. Slide forward slightly until the knee is just touching the wall and the heel is on the ground, this is your maximum range.
  7. Grab your ruler and measure the distance from wall to toes with it. Normal range of motion for this test is six inches pain free and with ease.


Knee Flexion

  1. Lie down on your stomach with legs flat and grab a friend to help (or stand if you’re able).
  2. Bend your knee and have the your friend gently push your heel towards your buttocks. Again, this should be easy, pain-free and with minimal force.
  3. If you’re able to perform step 2 easily then keep your heel against your buttocks and gently lift the knee off the floor. You should find 2″ of extra slack before reaching full range of motion in a healthy knee and quadriceps.  If you have to stop at step 2 or if this position produces symptoms or requires a high degree of force, you have failed the test.


Hip Flexion

  1. While still lying on your back pull your knee to your chest one leg at a time.
  2. The front of your thigh should easily touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pain, pinch or pressure in the front of the hip, groin, or outer leg.


Hip Extension

  1. Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground; place a ruler adjacent to your down knee.
  2. Keep your body upright with your shoulders over your hips and move your hips forward.
  3. Place something straight against the prominent bony part of the front of your pelvis and measure how far the front of the hip moves down the ruler. Switch sides and repeat. Y
  4. ou pass the test if you have at least 12″ of movement and only mild stretching in the front of the hip. If not, the test is limited and you don’t pass.


Toe Touch 

  1. Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes.
  2. If you can touch the floor with only stretching in the back of the legs you pass, if your can’t touch or have symptoms, you have an issue that needs to be addressed.



What Now?

If you don’t have full mobility in any of these ranges, you’re putting yourself at a high risk for an injury that could derail your running plans this season or, in the worst case, indefinitely. There is a window of opportunity for conservative care to be successful and unfortunately the longer you wait on any injury, especially recurrent, the worse your prognosis becomes. Adhesion, the most common underlying condition in many stubborn joint and muscle problems, is missed by providers across the board. If you have had inconsistent results or failed to respond to massage, traditional chiropractic care or physical therapy and wish to avoid the side effects and poor outcomes of other symptom-based ‘treatments’ like pills, tape and cortisone injections, please give our office a call.


If you been suffering from recurrent symptoms while running and want to a complete and accurate diagnosis please call us at (515) 963-1641. Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems for symptoms and pain with running.