FORT BRAGG, N.C.— Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) Physical Therapy hosted a collaboration gait retraining continuing education course between Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) and WAMC Department of Rehab, Jan. 25.
The objective was to educate participants’ approach to working with injured runners, and to restore & prevent musculoskeletal running injuries. This was achieved by adjusting their (running) cadence, lean, (body) alignment, soft landing, and (foot) strike, also known as CLASS.
During the Run with CLASS training, students took instruction, viewed a series of videos displaying runners with poor & improved gait mechanics, and had the option to perform running drills.
Approximately 200 participants from WAMC Department of Rehab Service Line (occupational therapy and physical therapy), and XVIII Airborne Corps H2F units (to include the Combat Aviation Brigade, 18th Fires Brigade; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; 16th Military Police Brigade, 20th Engineers Brigade, and 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade) filled the Weaver auditorium.
“I signed up for this class because I wanted to learn how to be a better runner. If anyone comes to me with running questions, I will be better equipped to answer them,” said Monica Wilson, an 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade H2F nutrition team health educator.
“I think it’s good knowledge to have to prevent injuries. My biggest take-a-way was learning about mechanics and preventing injuries. If someone has an injury, I will know how to make corrections to help prevent any future injuries. Learning about the lean and cadence was valuable information for me,” she said.
The Run with CLASS briefing team: Physical Therapists retired U.S. Army Col. Don Goss, Dr. Kelly Leugers, Capt. Rhoda Anderson, Dr. Sara Mathews; Student Physical Therapist Lauren Mulier; supporting staff Maria Gonnella, and Dr. Nicholas Reilly, gave an in-depth analysis on running research, assessments, running results and why their study is important to the future of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the U.S. Military.
According to the U.S. Army Holistic Health and Fitness Operating Concept, a 10% reduction in musculoskeletal injuries would improve mission capability by adding a full brigade combat team to the battlefield.
The training is provided through DHA, J-7, Continuing Education Program Office and is approved for 2.0 Continuing Education/Continuing Medical Education credits.
“Our target audience is active-duty service members who are having problems with running. Either the way they are running is causing their problem or exacerbating an existing injury,” said Leugers, a Clark Health Clinic physical therapist and a Reservist in the 412th Theater Engineer Command.
“This is not a self-referral class. They must be screened by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or H2F health care employee to make sure they meet the entry criteria. This is a technique class. We teach folks how to run in a way to reduce load, which can reduce pain. It is not a performance improvement class. So, it’s not for someone who is out of shape and looking to get into shape,” she said.
For those wanting to improve their technique, a running clinic is available by obtaining a physical therapy evaluation (or an evaluation by their H2F staff). The clinic is a progressive three-week class at Hedricks Stadium (located at Long Street and Reilly Road) every Tuesday and Thursday, from 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
“It’s important, because all military services have a running requirement. With the Army Combat Fitness Test, the 2-mile run, if anything, is probably a little more difficult for folks,” said Leugers.
The next few classes begin Feb. 14, March 7, or March 28. It requires a Physical Therapy (or other rehabilitative therapist) evaluation, first, to make sure the person meets the entry criteria.
Physical therapy sick call is available to service members at Womack Physical Therapy clinic 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.; Robinson Physical Therapy clinic 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.; and Byars & Clark Physical Therapy clinic from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.