The Runner and Pelvic Health: Poor Form Can Affect Even the Highest-Level Runners

Blog RUN 3.29.24

The 2024 Summer Olympics this summer (July 26 - August 11) will showcase the most elite athletes from all over the world. We will watch these athletes perform at World and Olympic Record times in various running events from sprints to long distances. These athletes demonstrate above-average form and strength, allowing their bodies to perform at peak ability. While these individuals are far above average, there is still the risk of dysfunction, including pelvic floor dysfunction, that can occur as a result of poor running form and from lower extremity injuries. Poor form can affect even the highest-level runners.

Recently, I co-treated a 32-year-old patient who was 4 months postpartum, with a pelvic therapist.  Before childbirth, the patient was an avid runner participating in multiple running events who ran distances from 5k to a marathon. Since giving birth, the patient had complaints of increased urinary urgency and increased urinary frequency, having to urinate 11-14x/day and a minimum of 2x during the night. The patient still had not returned to running due to poor bladder control. This patient’s running evaluation demonstrated the following:

  • ·Running video analysis: overstriding, bilateral hip drop, increased vertical displacement, and a heel whip on the left side.
  • ·Movement assessment of squat: increased lumbar lordosis and increased sacral counternutation uncontrolled.
  • ·Movement assessment of pistol squat:  bilateral hip drop and bilateral genu valgum
  • ·Musculoskeletal assessment:  decreased gluteus medius and maximus strength, decreased motor control of left greater than right hip rotators.

This patient was seen for a total of 7 visits over 4 months, receiving a combination of therapy focusing on the above deficits and pelvic therapy. By the end of physical therapy, the patient had no complaints of urinary frequency/urgency, demonstrated improved squat, pistol squat, and running form as well as significant gains in lower extremity strength.

In the remote course, The Runner and Pelvic Health, Aparna Rajagopal and I will discuss the various assessments and treatments that we provide for runners and for this patient too. We will perform video analysis of runners, discuss postpartum runners, and learn strength and conditioning exercises specific to runners. Join us on April 27, 2024 to expand your knowledge on the treatment of runners from a pelvic health perspective.



Leeann Taptich DPT, SCS, MTC, CSCS 


Leeann Taptich DPT, SCS, MTC, CSCS

Leeann Taptich has been a physical therapist since 2006. She graduated with a BS in Kinesiology from Michigan State University and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St Augustine. In 2009, she earned her Manual Therapy from the University is St Augustine and her board certification as a Sports Certified Specialist in 2018. 

Leeann leads the Sports Physical Therapy team at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Michigan where she mentors a team of therapists. She also works very closely with the pelvic team at the hospital which gives her a very unique perspective of the athlete. With her combination of credentials and her exposure to pelvic health, she is able to use a very eclectic but complete approach in her treatment of orthopedic and sports patients. With the hospital system, she is involved with the community promoting health and wellness at local running competitions and events.

Leeann is passionate about educating and teaching and has assisted in teaching multiple courses at the local State University PT department. She is co-chair of the continuing education committee at her hospital where she writes and develops courses. She is co-author with Aparna Rajagopal of the Breathing and Diaphragm and The Runner and Pelvic Health remote courses at Herman & Wallace.

Leeann lives in the metro Detroit area with her husband and 2 children. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and watching football.

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