Running is both an integral part of Air Force physical fitness assessments and, if done incorrectly, a potential source of injury. The 86th Medical Group physical therapy flight introduced a new running class called Pose Method to help patients correct their stride, reduce or eliminate pain, and avoid future injury so they can improve their scores on the cardiovascular component of the Air Force fitness tests.
Airman 1st Class Alexia Roberts, 86th Communications Squadron personnel technician, has been attending the Pose Method class for two weeks to recover from knee and leg pain.
“My pain has definitely decreased since I started the class,” Roberts said.
Roberts said her Pose Method run analysis identified problems in her stride. The way she landed on her heel when she ran and the way she walked on the side of her foot were causing knee problems and pain in her leg. She learned that if she did not improve her stride, she could further injure herself.
“My injuries made it harder to do physical fitness,” Roberts said. “Also, my friends understand that when I go out I always have to take some time to sit because my feet hurt.”
Tech. Sgt. Lizmarie Linares, 86th Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight chief, began implementing the Pose Method techniques at Ramstein in March.
Linares explained the class is all based on the ‘pose’ position, which is the point in a runner’s stride where their body is at its center of balance.
“The time it takes a runner to go in and out of the pose position indicates how hard they are working and how much energy they are wasting,” Linares explained.
According to Linares, the class teaches runners to use the ideal, efficient stride, putting minimal impact pressure on the knees, correcting the mechanics of the stride and decreasing pain in places like ankles, knees and back.
“Unless a person is an athlete, they’re usually not taught to run correctly.” Linares said. “Even people who are very fit may not have proper running technique. As they age, they start having injuries.”
Many Airmen have physical jobs, and fitness-related injuries can prevent them from carrying out their mission. Without a current passing physical fitness assessment, Airmen are not deployable, hindering the mission.
According to Linares, the most common injuries she sees among runners are shin splints and patellofemoral syndrome, or chronic knee pain. However, out of 48 sessions and 288 patients, Linares said that the Pose Method class has had 95 percent treatment success.
Roberts said that she is learning to move properly because of the class.
“I’m not having as much pain because I’m not walking on the side of my foot or heel striking,” Roberts said. “I think the class is very useful.”
Linares said that she also has been able to eliminate her hip pain through the Pose Method techniques, and she enjoys seeing her patients improve as well.
“It feels really good when patients come to me and say, ‘Thank you Sgt. Linares. This helped me greatly. I’m able to run consistently with little or no pain and I passed my PT test,’” Linares said. “That’s the best part of it.”
While currently the Pose Method classes are only for 86 MDOS physical therapy flight patients, Linares hopes to make them available to the entire 86th Airlift Wing. She also hopes to teach physical training leaders in Pose Method techniques so that they can properly conduct PT sessions and help those who are failing, which in turn allows Airmen to continue doing their jobs and stay deployable.