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Johns Hopkins Running Program

As part of the Johns Hopkins Rehabilitation Network, the Johns Hopkins Running Program serves active people who run for a sport, career or leisure. Our team of sports rehabilitation specialists can help you prevent injury, return to sport or run without pain.   

Running Program: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • We treat all runners, regardless of age or athletic level, including high-school, collegiate, recreational and elite competitive runners.
  • Our team consists of experienced rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists — many are runners themselves.
  • Our running specialists participate in extensive annual training in physiology and physical therapy, as well as biomechanics, electromagnetic studies, dry needling, performance testing and other areas.
  • We use advanced diagnostic and therapy equipment, such as the highly sensitive instrumented treadmill, to get to the root of your running pains.
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For avid runners like us, who train hard to achieve a new PR in each race, a sports injury can be a major distraction. We rely on the running specialists at Johns Hopkins to help us get back on track quickly and improve our form to minimize the potential for future setbacks.

- Brent and Michelle N., marathon runners

Brent and Michelle N., marathon runners

How We Help Runners

If running is a big part of your life, our specialists can help you in a wide range of ways, from injury prevention to treatment and recovery:

  • We use musculoskeletal evaluation to determine whether your pain (or likelihood of injury) is related to the anatomy of your feet, legs, hips and other structures.
  • A running assessment, including gait and balance analysis, helps us analyze your running style in detail and provides clues to the origin of your pain.
  • Based on this data, we may recommend a number of steps, including various gait correction and retraining approaches to change the way you run and eliminate the harmful patterns that contribute to pain and injury.
  • A physical therapy program is often needed to address musculoskeletal issues such as weak or unbalanced muscles or overcompensation on one side of the body.
  • Our team will also equip you with tips and steps for safely returning to running and preventing reinjury.

For cases that may require surgical treatment, we partner with specialists in orthopedics and other areas to provide well-rounded care.

Treating runners requires a unique approach. As a runner, I know that being told to stop running is not an option. Our goal is to help you get back to your prior level of function by strengthening muscles and relieving pain.

- Stacie Page, physical therapist and recreational runner

Stacie Page, physical therapist

Our Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technology

A runner using the antigravity treadmill

Anti-Gravity Treadmill
An anti-gravity treadmill was originally designed to help astronauts exercise in space. But it was later adapted to do quite the opposite: help people on the ground feel weightless. This machine can reduce the gravitational force on your body by as much as 80%. It allows people with injuries or those recovering from surgery to start physical therapy earlier than many other therapies. The amount of weight you bear can be gradually increased to help you safely return to your favorite sport.

A therapist inserting a needle into a man's neck

Dry Needling
Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, but involves different methodology. This technique involves inserting fine needles — without any sort of medication — deep into a muscle or trigger point. Used as a complementary treatment to therapeutic exercise and other mobilization techniques, it can help relieve pain and tension and improve function.

A physical therapist using manual therapy on a patient's ankle

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
Soft tissue mobilization involves physically moving tissues such as skin, tendons and muscles. This is done with special metal instruments shaped to glide over the skin as a physical therapist applies pressure. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization can help reduce pain, strain and stress. It can be used to treat many conditions, including ligament, tendon and muscle pain, postural abnormalities and post-surgical scar adhesions.

A runner on the instrumented treadmill

Instrumented Treadmill
With the help of the instrumented treadmill, we can adjust speed and incline to simulate a variety of running conditions. The running surface of this treadmill is one big sensor that can track many parameters. It allows us to measure the force of your steps, pressure points on your soles, your balance and timing, and much more. This data can help us identify gait issues — an important step for treating injuries or preventing them.

A physical therapist applying laser therapy to a patient's foot

Laser Therapy
Laser therapy uses light to reduce pain and help your body heal itself. As photons penetrate the skin, they interact with tissues down to the cellular level. The light from the laser can affect many processes, including cellular metabolism, enzyme activation, blood circulation and even tissue regeneration. It may take several sessions before you start feeling the effects of laser therapy.

A team of physical therapists guiding a patient on the gait analysis treadmill

Motion and Gait Analysis
Our motion analysis equipment consists of light-emitting diode (LED) markers, several high-speed video cameras and specialized analytics software. The LED markers are placed in several locations along the side of your body. As you walk or run, the video cameras capture the movement in real time. The LED markers help us see the exact position of your joints in relation to each other. With the help of this specialized software, we analyze your gait and identify problem areas.

A physical therapist using the myofascial acoustic compression therapy machine on a patient's foot

Myofascial Acoustic Compression Therapy
Myofascial acoustic compression therapy is one of the nonsurgical approaches to pain treatment. It uses soundwaves to reach unhealthy tissues in your body that respond to this type of energy. This treatment is similar to a deep tissue massage, but doesn’t take nearly as long. It works well for relieving acute and chronic pain in joints, muscles and tendons.

A physical therapists showcasing the negative pressure massage equipment

Negative Pressure Massage
Negative pressure (vacuum) can be applied to certain areas of the body using a special device. One of its health benefits is the activation of the lymphatic system, which helps move metabolic waste that may slow down the healing process. Negative pressure can also be used to stretch the connective tissue underneath the skin. This, in turn, helps improve blood circulation and lymph flow, which leads to reduced pain and swelling.

A physical therapist uses a simulator to help a patient with his golf swing

Sports Simulator
Sports simulation technology allows for lifelike gameplay of sports such as golf, baseball and lacrosse. As you use the simulator under the supervision of our therapists, we analyze your movements to help you refine your technique and make adjustments to prevent injury.

A physical therapist tapes a patient's arm

Athletic Taping
Athletic (sports) taping involves applying a special type of tape directly to the skin to help hold bones and muscles in a specific position. Athletic taping can be used to relieve pain, stabilize joints and muscles, and promote healing. There are many different methods of taping, and our experienced therapists will determine which one is right for you.

Physical therapist looking at the foot pressure points analysis on a computer screen

Our Team of Running Specialists

Our team consists of physical therapists, many of whom are also current or former recreational runners. Their expertise, combined with access to top-of-the-line equipment, allows our team to eliminate guesswork and offer you a treatment that works.

Learn more about our running rehabilitation therapists.

You run with more than just your legs — you use your entire body. That’s why tracking down the cause of the pain isn’t simple. With access to state-of the-art video and force-plate technology, as well as anti-gravity treadmill gait training, we can capture and analyze complex movement patterns. This data helps us guide your treatment and prevent recurrence of symptoms as you return to your sport.

- Lora Stutzman, physical therapist

Conditions We Treat

Our rehabilitation specialists treat a variety of injuries related to running, including:

  • General foot pain, ankle pain, shin pain, toe pain, knee pain, heel pain, calf pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back (lumbar) pain and mid-back (thoracic) pain
  • Tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, popliteal tendonitis
  • Fractures: metatarsal stress fractures, tibial stress syndrome and other fractures of legs and feet
  • Sprains and strains: hamstring strains, ankle sprains/instability and ligament sprains of the knee
  • Labral impingement and hip labral tears
  • Muscle strains in legs and feet
  • Muscle tears, including gluteal tears
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)
  • Compartment syndrome/exertional compartment stress
  • Other overuse injuries

Our team also works closely with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to provide rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair, meniscus debridement/repair, labral repair, bunionectomy and similar surgeries.

Running tips Webinar

Seasonal Running and Injury Prevention | Webinar

Running is a great activity for your heart, weight and mental health, but it comes with a risk of injuries, no matter how experienced you are. Orthopaedic surgeon James Ficke, M.D., and physical therapist Ken Johnson discuss measures you can take to avoid common running injuries.

Play Now
A woman undergoes the VO2 Max test

Performance Testing for Runners

Looking to get more data around your fitness and endurance beyond what a fitness tracker can offer? The Johns Hopkins Performance Testing program offers a variety of tests for runners and other athletes who want to better understand their bodies’ potential and limits. VO2 Max testing, resting metabolic rate analysis and body composition analysis can help you design a more effective training program and/or make lifestyle changes to support your fitness goals.

Learn more about performance testing.

Our Locations

Our running specialists are available at the following locations:

  • Green Spring Station Clinic in Lutherville, Maryland
  • White Marsh Clinic in Nottingham, Maryland
  • Odenton Clinic in Odenton, Maryland
  • acac Fitness & Wellness Center in Timonium, Maryland
  • Columbia Clinic in Columbia, Maryland

Learn more about navigating to each location.

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