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Postural Restoration Therapy: Creating a More Balanced Triathlete

In the last few months I’ve had the privilege of learning about Postural Restoration Therapy (PRI) by working with Jodi Reerink, PT, PRC (Postural Restoration Certified) at Specialized Physical Therapy. Jodi is highly trained in PRI and offered to evaluate my posture, walking form, running mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses. She examined tightness vs. weakness, patterns of compensation, and structural changes. Previous hip injuries have hampered my running. Specialized PT has supported me on wanting to get to the bottom of this occurrence. Jodi began working with me on targeting certain areas of weakness and compensatory patterns with my gait. I was running tense and upright. I was not using my core, glutes, or hamstrings properly. I was compensating for this pattern by using my back and hip flexors. We have focused on breaking that pattern by incorporating very specific exercises involving body weight, bands, and breathing exercises. It’s helped tremendously! Now when I run or walk, I sense the activation of specific muscles groups and feel my form come together.

Additionally, Jodi examined my foot structure and the type of running shoes I wear. I’ve always been an interesting case. Here’s why: In standing I pronate and have semi flat feet but when running I supinate (hit on the lateral aspect). I strike toe or midfoot. As long as I can remember, I have worn neutral running shoes offering minimal support at the arch. Wouldn’t that seem most logical? If I run on the outsides of my feet why would I need a more stable shoe? It seems like it would push me more into supination, right? Well, not exactly. When Jodi asked me if I would try a more stable shoe (arch support, firm heel, good toe bend) I thought she was crazy (Really, I did!). I immediately panicked, but I tried it! For 3 weeks I’ve been running in the Newton stability shoe vs a Newton neutral shoe and it’s made a huge difference! Look at the photos of the wear pattern in my shoes - both pairs of shoes have similar mileage totals. The blue lugs show even wear (stability shoe) and the orange lugs shoe the result of extreme supination (neutral shoe). It’s pretty neat to see an even wear pattern after so many years of burning the lateral aspect off in all of my running shoes. Postural Restoration Therapy and Jodi’s expertise have allowed me to become a more balanced and stronger runner. I’m excited to keep learning and advancing as a triathlete!

By Morgan Chaffin, Professional Triathlete

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