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ChiRunning - Can it Minimize Injury and Make Running Easier?

Mark Cucuzzella MD, FAAFP Associate Professor Family Medicine West Virginia University

INSPIRATION

Question 1: How did you learn the ChiRunning technique? (Mark all that apply.) Question 2: What is your current running program?

Run <10 (miles per week) mpw 71.12% % (1798) 45 Run between 10-20 mpw Run between 20-30 mpw Run between 30-40 mpw Run between 40-50 mpw Run greater than 50 mpw 0

INEFFICIENT

EFFICIENT

RESULTS

Question 3: How long have you been running?

Less than 1 year Between 2-5 years Between 5-10 years Between 10-20 years More than 20 years 450 675 900 0 200 400

RESULTS - HIGHLIGHTS

Question 4: How would your describe yourself as a runner? Question 5: How old are you?

Less than 20 20-30 Casual recreational-run couple times a week when the opportunity arises

"If athletes were given less care and more thought, the doctors might come up with some original ideas on why illness persists, why injury doesn't clear up. If more nonphysicians­ podiatrists and physiotherapists for instance­could be induced to lend their ideas and talents, we might see a completely new approach to sports medicine." Dr. George Sheehan 1975

11.47% (290) 4.87% (123)

24.56% (621) 32.87% (831) 24.21% (612) 11.00% (278) 4.51% (114) 2.85% (72)

225

8.82% (223) 29.79% (753) 17.64% (446) 16.73% (423)

7% % 3 16.46% % (416) 10

17.88% (452) 30.97% (783)

.51% (13) 4.63% (117) 19.62% (496) 38.41% (971) 36.83% (931)

0 250 500 750 1000

Dedication recreations-rarely/never race but running is a high priority in your life Somewhat competitive-race a few times a year Very competitive-race several times a year

· 95% said their ease of running has improved · 91% feel ChiRunning has played a role in

30-40

Book 22.78% % 30.18% DVD (576) 15 % Workshop (763) 19 Friend Personal Trainer or Coach Certified ChiRunning Instructor (one-on-one sessions)

37.22% (941)

40-50

27.02% (683)

600 800 0 250

13.92% (352)

500 750 1000

Over 50

Question 6: What is your gender?

Question 7: Do you feel you have been able to change your running mechanics through practicing ChiRunning?

Question 8: How long did it take you to feel you had made noticeable corrections in your running form?

Question 9: Did you have a specific injury you were trying to recover from prior to your interest in ChiRunning?

Question 10: If you answered "yes" to Question 9, did ChiRunning help you recover from this?

Definitely Yes 45.81% 54.19% 54% (1241) Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No

PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS

45% (1141)

45.13% 54.87% 55% (1387)

Definitely Yes Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No 0

58.03% (1467) 32.63 % (825) 7.44% (188) 1.90% (48)

375 750 1125 1500

Immediately Less than a month Between 1-3 months Greater than 3 months 0 200

31.75% (724) 29.56% (674) 26.32% (600) 12.37% (282)

400 600 800

38.98% (476) 49.55% (605) 9.25% (113) 2.21% (27)

0 175 350 525 700

46% (1049)

Yes No

Most runners and healthcare providers have resisted changing running mechanics for injury prevention. There is proper technique to almost any activity, but for some reason we do not apply this to running. Likely reasons are there is no accepted proper way to run, little research has been performed in this area, and few know how to instruct. The ChiRunning program has been introduced to thousands through a book, video, and workshops. The principles of ChiRunning include proper postural alignment, a slight forward lean, relaxation in movement, lifting the legs (instead of pushing off), and a midfoot strike. Can runners learn this technique? Is it helpful in reducing discomfort and injury? This study would be the first step to determine if form training provides benefits.

Male Female

27%

2%

Ankle/foot Calves/Shins Knee Upper leg (quadricepts/hamstring) Hips/Pelvis Lower back/sacrum

5.68% (70)

6%

71%

38

0

500

1000

1500

2000

Question 16: In the six months prior to learning ChiRunning, how many days did you miss running do to an injury?

None Between 1-10 days

Question 17: In the six months after learning ChiRunning, how many days did you miss running due to an injury?

None Between 1-10 days Between 10-20 days

Question 18: Do you feel ChiRunning has played a role in preventing running injuries to you?

Question 19: What was your perceived exertion/discomfort of running prior to learning ChiRunning?

Very light Fairly light Somewhat hard

Question 20: What was your perceived exertion/discomfort of running after learning ChiRunning?

Very light Fairly light

52

%

%

37.99% (468)

Yes No Unsure

17.40% 17% (396)

61.42% (1398)

61%

Not at all Occassionally Yes

71.16% (1404)

No

75.82% (1718)

Definitely Yes Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No

6.07% (36)

6%4

17.94% % (221) 18

%

6.25% (77)

6% 10.96% % (135) 11

21.18% 21% (482)

2.18% (43)

Yes

24.18% (548)

3.54% (21)

51.60% (306)

39

Question 11: If you answered "yes" to Question 9 (you were trying to recover from an injury), what area of your body was injured?

21.19% % 21 (261)

26.66% (526)

38.79% (230)

%

Question 12: Were you a heel striker before learning the ChiRunning technique?

Question 13: If you answered "yes" or "unsure" in Question 12, are you a midfoot striker now?

Question 14: Were you trying to avoid a specific surgery when you decided to learn about ChiRunning?

Question 15: If you answered "yes" in Question 14, did ChiRunning help you avoid this?

preventing running injuries · 90% said they were probably/definitely able to change their running mechanics with ChiRunning · 61% said they were a heel striker before practicing ChiRunning · 71% said they were a mid-foot striker after practicing ChiRunning · 60% said they were able to make noticeable corrections in less than a month, 31% said immediately · 54% had an injury and 88% with an injury said ChiRunning probably or definitely helped them recover · 45% said their perceived exertion/discomfort before ChiRunning was very hard or hard ­ then less than 5% said their perceived exertion/ discomfort was hard or very hard after practicing ChiRunning · 69% felt their speed improved with ChiRunning · Number of missed running days due to injury dropped dramatically: 40% had missed more than 10 days prior to ChiRunning, after ChiRunning that number dropped to less than 12%. Prior to ChiRunning 31% had no missed days, after ChiRunning 61% had no missed days due to injury · 91% said they would recommend ChiRunning to other runners

31.32% (680) 28.05% (609) 15.34% (333) 25.29% (549)

0 175 350 525 700

61.24% (1329) 27.33% (593) 5.39% (117) 6.04% (131)

0 375 750 1125 1500

Definitely Yes Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No 0

39.74% (881) 51.69% (1146) 7.13% (158) 1.44% (32)

375 750 1125 1500

1.18% (26) 8.60% (189) 44.95% (988) 33.89% (745) 11.37% (250)

0 250 500 750 1000

11.11% (246) 46.21% (1023) 37.76% (836) 4.38% (97) .54% (12)

0 375 750 1125 1500

CONCLUSIONS

Our survey sample is representative of recreational runners. The injury rates and effort levels were significantly reduced after learning ChiRunning. The responders felt it was easy to learn and almost all have recommended the method to others. The qualitative results of over 1400 individual comments reveal that for individuals who have practiced ChiRunning, the results have been nothing short of life changing. There are limitations to our findings. As a voluntary retrospective survey, we may over represent a cohort who was positively affected. Despite the limitations, the positive results lead us to further validate our hypothesis with a prospective trial.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

WVU and ChiRunning author Danny Dreyer collaborated with online survey sent to 25,000 people in ChiRunning newsletter email database. Response was over 2,500. The survey remained open for 3 months in the fall of 2007. The survey was supported by the WVU Secure Online Learning Environment (SOLE) Survey tool and was approved by the BU IRB protocol H-20294.

Between 10-20 days Greater than 20 days

Somewhat hard Hard Very hard

Hard Very hard

Greater than 20 days

Question 21: Do you feel your speed has improved through practicing ChiRunning?

Question 22: Do you feel your ease of running has improved through practicing ChiRunning?

Question 23: If you feel that ChiRunning has not helped you, please mark all that apply.

Question 24: Would you recommend learning ChiRunning to other runners?

6.89% (172)

Question 25: Have you recommended ChiRunning to other runners or walkers?

Definitely Yes Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No 0

21.10% (465) 48.00% (1058) 27.72% (611) 3.18% (70)

275 550 825 1100

Definitely Yes Probably Yes Probably No Definitely No 0

48.06% (1077) 47.08% (1055) 4.19% (94) .67% (15)

375 750 1125 1500

It was too difficult to learn It took too much time to learn I learned it but it made no difference in performance, effort or injury rates Other 0 75

21.65% (97) 14.29% (64) 22.54% (101) 59.60% (267)

150 225 300

%

2%7

1.64% (41)

8%

8.50% (212)

Yes No Unsure

%

91.47% (2285)

Yes No

91.50% (2283)

91

92

%

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