Ultrarunning: Chiropractic and Sports Medicine Techniques for Ultrarunners

April 24, 2012

This article is part of Endurance Planet’s ultrarunning article series. If you have questions, comments or feedback about “Chiropractic and Sports Medicine Techniques for Ultrarunners”, please leave it below in the comments section…

Overuse injuries are those caused by repetitive strains imposed by incorrect exercise form and/or technique. There are the usual medication options to treat such injuries but not all ultrarunners respond well or even choose to go this route. Fortunately there are chiropractic and sports medicine techniques that provide an alternative solution. Addressing overuse injuries with chiropractic techniques will require not only treatment of the actual site of injury, but manipulation of the parts of the body which have dysfunctions.  Here are three examples successfully used by practitioners in treating the overuse injuries ultrarunners commonly encounter.

1. Active Release Technique – ART is a chiropractic technique which has been developed and improved by Dr. P. Michael Leahy. ART utilizes more than 500 specific moves for treating a host of problems affecting the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and fascia.

A typical session will usually start out with the ART practitioner evaluating the patient’s soft tissues to assess its texture, and to check for presence of tightness and abnormal conditions in the muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and fascia. Treatment is then applied onto the affected area through the application of directed pressure while simultaneously moving specific parts of the patient’s body.

Common ailments in runners such as back and shoulder pain, headaches, knee problems, and plantar fasciitis are just some of the problems which can be swiftly and oftentimes permanently resolved by ART.

2. Graston Technique – The Graston Technique is an innovative treatment which uses six specially designed stainless steel instruments that facilitate accurate detection and treatment of injuries. This technique, which was originally developed by athletes themselves, cures not just acute injuries, but a whole host of chronic conditions which are often thought of as permanent by the patient.

The specially sized and shaped stainless steel implements will be utilized by the Graston Technique practitioner to palpate the patient’s body. Abnormalities such as fibrosis or inflammation on the soft tissues will then be manipulated, again with the use of the instruments, to gradually promote healing.

Many athletes have noted the effectiveness of the Graston Technique. And because acute and chronic injuries can be efficiently treated, the need for anti-inflammatory medications – intake of which can directly affect an athlete’s performance during a sporting event – will be reduced.

3. Kinesio Taping – Kinesio Taping has long been in use in sports. It is the practice of applying elastic therapeutic tapes onto specific parts of the body. Kinesio Taping is utilized both as a treatment and as a performance booster during actual sporting events.

Kinesio Taping has been proven effective in preventing over contraction of the muscles to avert injuries or to relieve pain on treated areas of the body. Kinesio Taping also proves an invaluable support mechanism for muscles that have been previously manipulated to correct muscle and joint dysfunctions.


Do you have questions about chiropractic and sports medicine treatment techniques, or what you’ve read so far? Do you have any ultrarunning pointers of your own to add? Please leave your feedback, comments and questions below, and we promise we’ll respond.

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