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What is tissue tolerance and is it affecting my performance or causing injury as a runner?

Running – The simplest activity you can do! 

But… also the one activity that causes the most injuries and frustration.

Running, whilst often a fun and rewarding experience can often have downsides. There can be barriers to running such as motivation, the weather, time, and other commitments.

However one of the most common reasons people stop running is due to injury or the body responding in a poor way such as fatigue, pain, tightness, or frustration at hitting the wall.

Luckily, this is bread and butter to us here at Premier, and I’d like to share with you a bit of knowledge about how to avoid injuries and overloading the body.


This starts with the body’s ability to tolerate all the forces that are placed on the body when running.

Running is what we would define as a ‘moderate’ impact activity. It’s not as intense as playing a game of rugby, but it isn’t as easy as going for a swim. However, with lots of repetitive movements where you land on one leg at high speeds, the combined effect of running can have a significant impact on the body. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the structures involved in running are ‘tolerant’ to high loads. If this is ignored, the body can quickly start to break down and develop an overuse injury.

Depending on your running technique, there will be high forces in areas around the hip, knee, ankle, and sometimes lower back. This can be more than 5-6 times your body weight. As you can imagine, it would be incredibly difficult to try and lift this much weight… So how does the body do it?

The body uses spring-like structures called tendons. These are the thick rope-like structures that join your muscles to your bones. They help to absorb and release energy quickly, which is why you can tolerate such high loads! Hence when we look at tissue tolerance, we need the muscles, tendons, and bones all to be resilient enough to withstand the demands of running.

When assessing runners, it’s important to look at a number of things that contribute to a runners tissue tolerance and injury risk profile.  This normally includes:

  • Strength

  • Control of movements and balance

  • Impact and landing strategies

  • Flexibility

  • Pain and sensitivity

  • Running technique

  • Previous injury is surrounding areas

One of the easiest and simplest ways you can assess your tissue tolerance is by looking at your strength. It is the best way to determine if your body is able to tolerate the demands of running. At the clinic, we use a system called the ‘Axit’ to accurately determine your muscle strength and power.

Click here to find out more about what the Axit is and how it can identify your strengths and weaknesses with precision.

Strength is only one component of identifying what is causing your injury or slowing you down.  It’s essential to look at all the aspects listed above to get an accurate picture of where your body is letting you down and knowing exactly what to do to get it right.

When you don’t, often symptoms subside for a little, but then they come back in the same form, by affecting nearby body parts.  Many runners hope they can run through the pain to a solution, but unfortunately, that doesn’t work – ever.  It just compounds the problem.  Listen to your body.  If it is complaining by giving you pain, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Often it is easy to rectify if you know where to look.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will think more about how strength plays an important part not only in reducing your injury risk but also helping you to run faster and easier.

If you are struggling with your running and need an expert to set you on the right path, book an appointment via the link below.

Book an appointment with Tully here!

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