Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Misuse Injuries

This is a great posting to the Running Barefoot Yahoo! group, by our mentor, Ken Bob Saxton:

I like to believe that "overuse" injuries are actually the same thing as "too much, too soon". In other words we are doing more with our body than it is ready for.

However, there is another important factor, which is "misuse" injury.

Being hit by a car traveling 60mph is also a "misuse" injury. We are getting hit with more force than we are designed to withstand!

Likewise, "Jogging" is a misuse of our body.

The common injuries to modern runners, like runner's knee, etc., are commonly mistaken as "overuse" injuries. These types of injuries occur in many runners who "pound" the pavement. "Jogging" and jarring thier joints for miles and miles, because they have always heard that they need to train long and hard. But they have never heard about "HOW" to run.

Misuse injuries are, in a strict sense, also "overuse" injuries. People pounding way harder, and much more frequently than their knees are ready to pound. In fact, in this case, since we aren't using the body according to the manufacturers specifications, it never gets an adequate chance to repair the damage, before we go out and pound out some more miles.

So, much like being hit by a car traveling 60mph, "jogging" or pounding the pavement, is simply something our bodies were never designed for.

What do I mean, we aren't using the human body according to manufacturerers specifications? We are designed to run?

Yes, I believe we are designed to run. However, we were never designed to run without one of the most valuable safety features available. This safety feature was installed, at the time of manufacture, not as an option, but as a necessity. It is the feedback from our feet, as they touch the ground.

We have covered this wonderful sensory organ with shoes, blinding it to the wonderful feelings of touching the earth, just so we can run on surfaces, with such insensitive pounding, that we blow out every conceivable joint in our body. And when the joints start hurting, we take pain-killers, so we can continue pounding, and reduce our joints to bare bones, grinding against each other!

In our automobile, this might be seen as the equivelent of putting a piece of black tape over the "oil low" indicator light or pressure gage, so we aren't annoyed by it's persistent warnings!

Keep in mind, that virtually all of those studies about "normal" wear and tear as a result of aging, are based on "normal" people in modern society, who are so out of touch with their own bodies, that, if they wanted to restore a channel of communication, they wouldn't even know the phone number to call to talk, and listen, to their own body!

The "secret" to preventing this "normal" wear and tear due to aging, isn't LESS RUNNING, it is MORE AWARENESS, so that we can run more, to continue building strength and endurance, with LESS POUNDING!

Have fun,
-barefoot ken bob

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