The SPEED Clinic Experience
Always keep in mind it’s really, really hard to get better if you’re hurt. We at the SPEED Clinic know that even minor, preventable injury can result in significant “downtime” away from training. And guess what? Even though running is a “non-contact” activity, research from our own expert physician Dr. Robert Wilder indicates that runners are hurt very often. Too often. Our unique, objective assessments provide athletes with an avenue to train hard while preventing injury. The combination of clinical/exercise expertise with state-of-the-art technology provides a unique opportunity to help you reach your goals.
What a Runner Needs
Running should be pretty straightforward: just lace ‘em up, point and go. That simple beauty is what makes running so appealing. So why do so many runners get injured? The truth is that each runner needs to dynamically stabilize about 2.5 times his/her body weight on one foot. Add this up over 1500 foot strikes per mile…and it’s easy to see how perturbations in mobility, stability, cadence, or stride technique can insult tissues in a hurry. Here’s the Catch-22: we need volume to achieve our goals, but volume can lead to overuse. In order to strike the delicate balance, a runner needs both mobility and stability. Not only that, but those two qualities are needed in the right places at the right times.
A great example is the hip: we want good mobility so the big muscles can extend the hip and give you PR-type horsepower. But each hip must also stabilize a significant portion of your body weight in stance phase. A loss of either function can show up as patellofemoral pain, hamstring strains, back pain, or any number of other maladies. The symptoms will depend on your shoes, volume, strength, and individual style. The SPEED Clinic advantage is that we not only pick up on your limits of mobility and stability, we help you improve them with straightforward drills and exercises. Running shouldn't require much equipment, and neither do our solutions.
There are three key components which we integrate to figure you why YOU run the way YOU do, and how you might do it BETTER. Very few places on earth have this combination of tools:
1. Musculoskeletal screen – we examine how you move in several simple tasks, none of which are running but all of which impact your gait.
2. Kinematic Data – Kinematics are the data which reflect the movement of your joints throughout your stride.
3. Kinetic Data – kinetics are the forces that act on joints.
Assimilating these data and clinical observations means no stone is left unturned in how to improve your efficiency. The Musculoskeletal screen is a vital aspect of gait analysis. Mobility restrictions, instabilities, strength deficits, and postural asymmetries that plague many a runner’s gait will be identified here. For example, a runner with a tight illiotibial (IT) band and a wide stride will not improve performance by solely correcting stride mechanics without treating tissue quality. Moreover, our integrated analyses will help us figure out why your IT band got tight in the first place! Many disciplines are great at treating symptoms. Our goal is to find the cause and work from there.
For kinematics (joint movement), we use a very sophisticated system of cameras which collect your gait movements at 500 frames per second. There are inefficiencies and asymmetries that the human eye might miss in a simple video analysis, but we pick them up every single time.
Laboratories that only use cameras to assess kinematic data, without incorporating kinetic (joint forces) data, are unable to perform thorough motion analysis assessments. Our unique SPEED Clinic is home to an impressive array of equipment that facilitates objective analysis of both kinetic and kinematic data. We have one of only two “force instrumented” treadmills worldwide. Custom made by Advanced Medical Technology Inc.(AMTI), the only other treadmill is housed at the US Army Research Center in Massachusetts. This treadmill allows us to capture kinetic data at 1000 times per second, in three planes simultaneously, that maximizes analysis of multi-stride forces throughout the running cycle. This technique quantifies sensitive and specific biomechanical variables such as joint torques and power. Additionally, a Vicon 624 camera system that utilizes 10, high speed, infrared cameras, captures kinematic data at 500 frames per second. This allows us to examine range of motion of your joints during all phases of running or walking. By combining musculoskeletal, kinetic and kinematic observations, we are subsequently able to provide you a detailed assessment of deficient biomechanical variables that may limit training and make you more vulnerable to overuse injuries. Again, we are able to see what even the trained human eye and slow motion video can miss on a regular basis.
Although our assessments provide a comprehensive analysis of forces and joint mobility during running or walking, we recognize that each individual possesses a unique combination of physiological attributes including joint mobility/flexibility, dynamic muscle control, and motor recruitment patterns. Based on these parameters, we recognize each individual has a unique biomechanical footprint. Therefore, we spend ample time reviewing your training history and chronology of previous injuries. The training program, exercise selection, and propensity for injury must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Following each assessment session, our singular goal is to educate you. We take ample time to review your session on the same day, explain the numerous data numbers and graphs, and discuss variables that are important for you to incorporate in your training program. Based on your unique biomechanical limitations, we then provide you with a detailed written plan for functional strengthening exercises, stretches, and drills that can help you increase biomechanical efficiency and reduce the chance of injury. Additionally, we offer the option to demonstrate each exercise to ensure that you perform them correctly. We believe that performing exercises repeatedly, specific to your biomechanical parameters, is the key to unlocking your true athletic potential.
As we progress with our analytical tools, we want to keep up with technology used by our clients. So we’re planning to launch a paradigm by which you can download video and picture descriptions of drills to your mobile device. We expect to be able to improve your understanding and access to what is best for your stride and body. In short, YOU get more bang for YOUR buck!