They complain about shinsplints, tendinitis, pulled hamstrings and a laundry list of other running-related injuries that will cost about $15 million to treat over the next five years and an incalculable amount in lost workdays, according to the Air Force.AF Marathon winner, and barefoot advocate is going around teaching how to succeed in running... injury-free!
When Cucuzzella visits a base, he knows what he’s going to hear from airmen because he’s heard it so many times before: Teach us how to run without getting hurt.<<Two-pronged approach.
The training program that’s in the works is both preventive and corrective, according to Cucuzzella. Airmen will get tips on how to run better and PT leaders will learn first how to identify basic flaws in running form, then how to help airmen fix those flaws with special exercises.
Cucuzzella contends injuries occur for any number of reasons — improper balance, limited range of motion or muscle weakness, for instance — that often involve several muscles or joints. Yet, most doctors treat a running injury much as they would a combat wound, immediately and without much consideration to what else is happening with the rest of the body.
“Running injuries can’t be looked at in isolation,” Cucuzzella said. “There are whole kinetic chain issues. If your knee hurts, what’s going on at your foot, at your hip, how you land, how your footwear is affecting you? Are you running too much or too hard? There is a whole set of questions that go into why the injury occurred and we need to standardize these things instead of just treating symptoms.”
Running shoes and their effect on a runner’s gait will get a hard look from Cucuzzella, who is one of a growing number of runners and medical experts who think what they call traditional shoes — heavy with large cushioned heels and stabilizers — do more harm than good.
Here’s why, as Cucuzzella explains it:
When a man walks, his foot lands on the heel and rolls to the forefoot before he pushes off with his toes — a motion that doesn’t work for a runner because of his speed and the force with which he’s hitting the ground.
When a runner lands, his heel strikes hard and stops his body, sending a shockwave to the knees, ankles and hips, as well as the leg muscles.
“We’ve put shoes on people and it’s allowed people … to then run heel to toe. We call that jogging,” he said. “It’s a complete breaking motion.”