Runners World

Winter is typically not a runner's favorite time of year. It truly turns their world upside down and requires a change in their daily routine and lifestyle.

by Brett Hudson, PT, Sanford Sports Medicine Rehabilitation

The cold, wind, and snow are officially here. Yes, it is winter, and as strong and hearty as we Midwesterners are, we have to make some pretty serious adjustments to our lifestyles to handle this change. This could not be more true then for a population amongst us called runners.

Winter is typically not a runner’s favorite time of year. It truly turns their world upside down and requires a change in their daily routine and lifestyle. The once clear, smooth asphalt path that they stared at for months is now covered with slick ice and snow. Some runners move their routine inside, electing to run on an indoor track or treadmill. Others choose to cross-train during the winter, which often times includes work on the elliptical, swimming, cycling, or even Yoga and Pilates. Some even decide to take the winter off from running.

As a physical therapist, I see the winter season as opportunistic for the runner. It can be used as a time to recover from the many miles put on in the spring and summer months, a time to allow the body to heal from the nagging little aches and pains that seem to develop every running season. Also, it can be used as a time to train for the upcoming season, and not necessarily through running itself, but through specific strengthening and mobility exercises. This does not mean that a runner should not run in the winter, but perhaps the focus can be shifted away from running to that of building a strong foundation to allow for more fluid, efficient and healthy running.

Running is a complex, dynamic, functional movement that requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, mobility and stability. If a runner is off balance in one or more of these areas, movement deficiencies are likely to develop and symptoms are often the result. These deficiencies can present as sprains, strains, overuse injuries and even stress fractures. Of course, every runner has his or her own running style, but certain imbalances over time can lead to stress, tissue breakdown and eventually a painful cycle ensues.

Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine’s Running Injury and Performance Services has a state of the art treadmill system that is capable of assisting medical professionals in determining what exact movement deficiencies may be taking place. This world renowned clinical gait system consists of the Zebris Force® and Pressure Distribution platform that is integrated on a high-end h/p/cosmos® running machine to analyze foot contact, pressure distribution, step and stride length, and push-off during walking or running. The force platform also interfaces with Contemplas Motion Analysis Software and a Noraxon® Surface EMG system to analyze joint angles and dynamic muscle function, respectively.

So if you’re a runner that has been struggling with nagging injuries in the past, or if you’re just a runner looking to improve your running mechanics and efficiency, this system may be beneficial to you. Through the treadmill data and a thorough musculoskeletal and movement examination, our medical professionals can help prepare you for this upcoming running season and in turn help turn your world right side up.

For more information on Sanford’s Running Injury and Performance Services, please contact (605) 328-4752. If you wish to set up a running evaluation directly, call (605) 328-1626.


Sanford Clinic Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
Van Demark Building
1210 W. 18th Street, Suite G01
Sioux Falls, SD (605) 328-BONE (2663)

Sanford Clinic Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Walk-In Clinic
(No Appointments Necessary)
Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm