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  • Dr. Kristen K. Schulte, PT

I will be the last person to tell you to stop running

Last fall, I volunteered my PT services at a weekly running group. I showed up early, ran with the group, and stayed late in hopes of doing injury screens and answering questions about running aches and pains. Runners are my people: I’ve been a competitive runner and have now graduated to recreational runner, and I was excited to help my people.

The result? I was totally shunned by my people.

All the while whispering to their friends about their low back pain, IT Band syndrome, runner’s knee, SI joint dysfunction, and even the neck pain/headaches they get at work, the runners would walk up to me and say, “Oh I don’t want to talk to you. You will tell me to stop running.”

I was hurt. Next time, I thought, I’m coming with a sign around my neck that says, “I will be the last person to tell you to stop running.”

Why? Maybe because I have heard it myself. If you have read any bio of mine, you know that I once suffered a serious back injury. When it would not heal, a physician’s assistant told me, “You are going to need to find a different hobby. You won’t be able to run again.”

He did not understand the gravity of his words. I went home and cried. Running was not just a hobby. Not only was I getting a scholarship for it at the time, it was part of my life. I had done it year-around since I was 12. It was my method of managing stress, brining understanding to my life, connecting with God, and hanging out with friends. Maybe it isn’t healthy to have that much wrapped up in one “hobby”, but if you are or have ever been a runner, you know what I mean.

Thus, my past experience as well as my identity as a runner influences the way I practice: I will try every exercise in the book, drive 16 dry needles into your leg, put an insert into your shoe, or modify your running form. Of course, there are certain injuries that require a brief period of rest, but I will never give your running career a life sentence.

So if you are training for something this fall and feeling that nagging injury rear its ugly head again, come on in so that we can help you not only feel good for race day but also ensure that you are someday that 80 year old at the 5k starting line that everyone aspires to be.

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