BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The cool weather signals the start of running season in south Louisiana. The Louisiana Marathon is just around the corner on January 15th. To help runners prepare, a Baton Rouge doctor offers a unique analysis that can reduce injuries and improve personal bests.
The early-morning sun is fuel for avid runners like Ariel Deville.
"I've been running for about 2 ½ – 3 years now. I usually run 3 – 4 times a week," she said.
It's great exercise, but not without risk. Some studies show up to 80 percent of runners are injured each year. Even a minor injury can be debilitating during a race.
"I've had shin splint issues, IT band problems," Deville said.
She recently hopped on a treadmill at the clinic of Kasey Hill, M.D. to hopefully prevent those injuries. Hill is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Moreau Physical Therapy. He runs a high-tech program of gait analysis and retraining.
"Everyone runs a different way," Hill explained. "We're not trying to get everyone to run the same way, but we know there are some things really associated with injuries."
Hill's treadmill is equipped with high-speed cameras and a special timing unit that measures the feet with infrared light at one-thousandth of a second.
"What I want you to watch is not letting your knees kind of dip in front of you," Hill told Deville as she watched herself run on the treadmill.
Runners get a detailed look at their biomechanics that lets them see their mistakes in real-time and slow motion.
"One is over-striding. That's a very big one that we see, so we teach people to not reach out far and to land a little closer to them. That's been shown to greatly reduce injury risk," Hill said.
"You don't see this as a runner. You think you're doing everything right," Deville said after watching Hill's videos of her performance.
She was surprised to learn she was over-striding and has weakness in her hips.
The prescription is exercise and physical therapy that targets her specific needs.
"Admitting you have a problem is the first step," Hill said with a smirk. He explained that many runners are hesitant to watch themselves on camera.
"Changing some technique things, we can actually make a difference in three weeks if they really kind of focus on it and we give them some feedback," he said. "Strengthening (takes) three to six weeks, and the slowest process is if we need to stretch something."
A typical gait analysis takes about three hours, and Hill gives clients a detailed report of his findings and recommendations. The cost for the full analysis is $275, but cheaper options are available for gait training classes.
Contact Dr. Hill at Moreau Physical Therapy at (225) 246-2076. The address is 3129 Perkins Rd. near the I-10 overpass.