Running Physical Therapist

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The “Running Physical Therapist” is here to help you live a pain-free life, carry out a better work-out routine, and improve your everyday function; as well as your athletic capabilities.

Assessment and Evaluation of The Runner: The Dr. Jim Palmer, PT Method

Step 1: Take the runner’s history

This is the most crucial step. Taking a thorough history will provide insight into the runner’s past training practices which may have contributed to their present situation. Details such as past injuries, current training schedule, supplemental cross-training, and onset of pain are all potential clues which can lead me to predict when the injury may have occurred. Although detailed attention will be given to the runner’s past, we will also focus on the future timelines, such as prospective races.

Step 2: Assess the runner’s form with video analysis

New and amazing cell phone camera applications make it convenient for everyone to have a record of their running mechanics.  By slowing down the video of you running, jumping, hopping and squatting provide so many wonderful clues as to why your pain and injury are occurring.  We want you to see what the physical therapy sees so that you have a greater understanding how your body’s kinetic chain (foot, ankle, knee, hip, low back, trunk, arms and neck) is failing and how we can improve it!

Step 3: Perform the exam (posture, strength, flexibility, ROM)

As a physical therapist, I am trained in the ability to assess the runner’s posture, strength, flexibility, and range of motion ROM.  Examining a runner’s standing posture, single leg balance, squatting, and hopping will provide clues of further areas to inspect.  Next I will move into checking the spine’s ROM, followed by the hamstrings and quadriceps flexibility.  Examine the runner’s hip, knee, ankle ROM.  Once we have completed the flexibility and ROM assessment, we will test the strength of major muscle groups including the core, hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, knee and ankles.  I will most likely find weakness and/ or tightness that will be contributing to the runner’s injury.

Step 4: Assess and evaluate the findings

This is my favorite part of the process: taking all the information we have just gathered from the first two steps and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.  I will educate the runner about how the training errors in their running history.  I will demonstrate joints and muscles that are too stiff and restricted.   I will demonstrate what muscles are not in symmetry by being too weak or overworked.   I will discuss how these imbalances are causing changes in their running form that is harmful.  I will do my best to lay all the pieces of the puzzle out and show how these pieces are affecting the runner’s ability to run without injury.

Step 5: Develop and implement the treatment plan

Now that the runner and I have discussed their problem list, we can develop a custom plan together to get back running again.  I will prescribe exercises that may be done at home or in the gym to fix the problem list.  We will develop a timeline together to return to running safely, and move forward toward achieving their goals.

Our Process

Manual Therapy for Runners

Manual Therapy also known as hands on therapy is the art and science of the physical therapist stretching sore and tight muscles, mobilizing (moving) stiff and painful joints and performing myofascial release of tight fascia. Runners come in all shapes, sizes and different running backgrounds so your Doctor of Physical Therapy will choose the techniques that are most beneficial to your situation. All of these techniques will be thoroughly explained to you prior to your therapist performing any procedure. And of course we will ask your permission before performing these techniques. After your running assessment, your Doctor of Physical Therapy will perform manual therapy for the purpose of stretching stiff and/ or painful body parts. We will always ask for your feedback because we want physical therapy to be an enjoyable and beneficial experience.

Exercise Prescription for Runners

After your running assessment, your Doctor of Physical Therapy will explain, demonstrate and instruct you in specific exercises designed to improve your ability to run without pain and injury. These exercises are therapeutic in nature, meaning that the exercises are meant to improve your specific pain and injuries through stretching and strengthening of your body. Your physical therapist will dose the exercises according to your comfort and skill level. As you become stronger, we will update and advance your exercises so that you can return to running without injury. We will always ask for your feedback because we want physical therapy to be an enjoyable and beneficial experience.

Sneaker Assessment

How do my sneakers look? Did you know that running in the suboptimal sneakers can lead to pain and injury? Do you know how to check your own sneakers for signs of wear and breakdown? Your Doctor of Physical Therapy will assess the condition of your current running sneakers and how this may be contributing to your current injury or future injuries. We will make recommendations so that you are able to run in sneakers without pain or injury. We will teach you what to look for in your own sneakers in order to know when your sneakers have run enough miles to be retired.


Your Doctor of Physical Therapy will discuss and examine your running habits and exercise history to look for potential contributions to breakdown, injury and poor performance. We will educate you about why cross training and how to implement in your program. You will be provided coaching tips to you to improve your running technique, form and pain. We will use video as a feedback method so you can better understand what your therapist is discussing, and ultimately improve your form. And when weather allows, we are happy to jump outside with you because running on a treadmill is very different from the unforgiving roads or uneven dirt trails. Your Doctor of Physical Therapy is ready to coach you up to your goal event from Couch to 5K to the Marathon.

Let Us Help You Reach Your Goals

We offer one on one time and not crowded PT clinics where a patient is just a number.
Your PT has a high level of experience and training which will aid you recovering faster
and more completely. You will not be subject to insurance companies placing restrictions
on your care.
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