Along with Florida’s fantastic weather comes an abundance of opportunities for outdoor hobbies, sports and activities suited to the climate. Of these, running is one of the most popular.
Like many hobbies, running doesn’t come without risk. Fortunately for running enthusiasts in Florida — and across the Southeast — Gainesville is home to UF Health Running Medicine, one of the most advanced and respected running medicine programs in the U.S.
Housed in the UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute, UF Health Running Medicine combines state-of-the-art gait analyses from the UF Human Motion and Biomechanics Laboratory with specialized medical evaluations and care from orthopaedic physicians fellowship-trained in running medicine. The team also offers rehabilitation therapy and coaching from a designated running medicine physical therapist. This combination of expertise and evaluation is available at only a handful of U.S. facilities and is the only such facility in the Southeast, according to Kevin Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., FACSM, CAQSM, a UF College of Medicine associate professor of orthopaedics and UF Health Running Medicine director.
“What truly sets us apart from other programs is our medically based running analysis,” Vincent said. “Through precise gait analysis, running, physical and medical evaluations, we can fit all of the pieces together to see exactly what the source of the runner’s problem is and what needs to be done to eliminate it.”
Vincent, an avid runner, marathoner and frequently quoted national expert, says that although many runners come to him complaining of shin splints or knee pain, few are aware of the underlying problems and mechanisms responsible for the pain.
“With medically based running analysis, we can determine if it’s the shoe, the anatomy of the foot, a runner’s particular gait, weak hips or some combination of factors that’s responsible for their injury and coach them to prevent these types of injuries in the future.”
What’s most exciting to the staff is figuring out and showing runners how to avoid injury and become better at what they love to do.
“There are two primary groups of runners that come to UF Health Running Medicine: Those who are already injured and those who are looking to improve their performance,” he said.
Like anything else in medicine, it’s better to prevent injuries before they happen.
“You need to listen to your body and be happy in your own skin,” said Vincent. “If you are experiencing pain, your body is telling you that it hates the way you are running. Our job is to find out why.”
For more information about UF Health Running Medicine, or to schedule an appointment or gait analysis, please visit UFHealth.org/running-medicine-clinic.