Running can be a fantastic activity for a wide range of people. It is a stress reliever and a solid way to stay in shape. It can be done in a leisurely way or as an outlet for one’s hyper-competitive nature.

Regardless of the reason, it cannot be enjoyed at all when injuries get in the way. It can start as a minor problem, but if it is not treated and the running form is affected it can have lasting consequences.

Jessalyn Ford, PT DPT NCPT, is a lifelong runner who has tackled short distances all the way up to marathons. Her passion for running and her own running injuries have led her to become a physical therapist, and she strives to help runners of all ages and skill levels bounce back from injury and get back on the road.

She will be facilitating a Running Injury Preventive Workshop that is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio in Peachtree City.

During this interactive event, Ford will help attendees learn about some of the most common running injuries and how to avoid them. There will be opportunities for participants to have their own running form corrected during the session.

What is a common running injury?

Ford explains that perhaps the most prevalent is runner’s knee, which often develops when the form is not quite right. It can happen when the heel strikes the ground too hard or there is some weakness in the hip. When the knee is loaded improperly during a repetitive activity like running, the result can be a great deal of pain and inflammation that eventually puts you on the sideline.

If it becomes a problem, an examination of ankle mobility and hip strength can help identify the cause. Exercises are assigned to strengthen or increase mobility, which is then applied to running form.

During the session at ProHealth, Ford will share a PowerPoint presentation that shows different running positions to distinguish what constitutes faulty movement. Attendees will see how proper running should look as well as what those who aren’t doing it right typically look like.

One of her recent clients, a man in his 40s who had been running 4-5 miles a day, came in thinking he had shin splints. A subsequent screening and evaluation revealed that the problem was not shin splints at all, but was coming from the movement in his lower back. Some core strength exercises got him running again, and from there Ford was able to fine-tune his form. This took about three months of treatments once a week.

By the time he was done, the pain no longer reached his shins. He was able to get back up to six miles a day without any issues.

Ford works with people who have all types of injuries, but she especially enjoys working with runners because they share her passion.

“Running has been my stress relief for 15 years now, and it’s just the one time I feel free,” said Ford. “I don’t have to think about anything else or worry about what I’m going to be doing later. I just get to run and I get to go and it’s fun and it’s challenging and you feel accomplished afterward.”

Class size for the workshop is limited. There is a $50 admission fee but attendance is free with the purchase of a Pilates package. ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio is located at 1777 Georgian Park in Peachtree City. Sign up at 770-487-1931 or drop by the studio to register.