Sunday, November 8, 2015

Will Running With A Stroller Cause Injuries?

Good o' running days with Marlene, Mia and Dean
Back when Dean was younger, I tried running with him sometimes. Yes, him in a stroller with me pushing. Sometimes alone, sometimes with Marlene.

Hence, it was with great interest when I came across the article which investigated if running with a stroller impacted your running form or more importantly, whether it caused injuries.

It started when the author (a physiotherapist and 2:44 hour marathoner) started running with a stroller so he could train without having to leave his infant daughter. (That's a way of multi tasking too). He couldn't find any research on how running with a stroller may impact his form so he conducted his own research with a couple of colleagues.

The researchers studied a group of runners who had not ran with strollers in the past year. They ran in an indoor track both with and without a stroller at their own comfortable pace. The stroller weighed in at 22 pounds (about the weight of an average one year old with stroller).

The results show that while running with a stroller, the runners had a forward lean of 6.7 degrees more than running without. There was a reduction in trunk rotation of 11.4 degrees and an average of 2.9 degrees reduction in trunk side flexion running with the stroller. There was also an increase in pelvic tilt of 2.8 degrees while hip extension was reduced by 3 degrees running with the stroller.

All in all, although running form changed slightly, the changes were small and probably will not affect runners who want to regularly run with strollers.

The authors concluded that the change in form was due to runners pushing the stroller with both hands. Running with both hands pushing the stroller caused the increase in forward lead while reducing the rotation brought about by arm swinging normally. As a result, the authors suggested running with just one hand on the stroller to allow at least one arm to swing.

The researchers concluded that there was absolutely no reason not to run with a stroller. They also recommended some mobility work to stretch the hip flexors and trunk rotation and extension.

I found the forward leaning actually helped make the run faster although it was easier to run with only one arm on the stroller. The lean was exactly what Gino teaches in his pain free running technique for our patients to run without pain. If I ran with just one arm on the stroller, I found that I could not maintain my normal running pace. It was also a struggle to run up hills without the leaning.

Keep your run to an hour or less. My son starts getting unhappy beyond that. Here's another tip, have a toy in the stroller for you to help distract them. Make sure the toy is attached, if not you'll find yourself retrieving the toy from time to time.

Running to a playground or park and stopping for a while will make the run more fun for your child. It disrupts your run but the smile you get makes it all worth it.

Don't assume cars will give way to you on the road. On the contrary, be more cautious.


O' Sullivan R, Kieman D and Malone A (2015). Run Kinematics With And Without A Jogging Stroller. Gait and Posture.


kelvin chan said...

I would love to learn to run the right way with a stroller. To prepare myself. Post more tips and technique if possible :)

Aized Noor said...

Thanks Kelvin, I'll ask Gino to show you.