Drexel University faculty members opened a clinic and research lab where runners can have their personal running biomechanics evaluated and injuries rehabilitated, with locations on the Center City and University City campuses.
Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions began taking the clinical gait analyses of runners and triathletes to educate them about proper training about three months ago, according to Robert Maschi, assistant clinical professor in the department of physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences.
The suite is a unique combination of experts with different approaches to running and running injuries coming together, according to Maschi. It is open to Drexel students and runners of all levels.
The team of physical therapists who review patients’ training histories use motion analysis software to evaluate videos of patients running on treadmills and simulating over-ground running and take musculoskeletal exams of patients, according to Maschi. These tests assess strength, flexibility and core stability and identify factors that the athlete can improve on, according to the college’s website.
“The response has been great so far,” Maschi said, adding that many runners are surprised by the way they’re running when they view the videos of themselves on the treadmill.
Kelly Shaffer, a junior cross country and track runner at South Hunterdon Regional High School in Lambertville, New Jersey, visited the Center City location to get opinions from a running specialist about an injury, and said it was a great experience.
“Dr. Maschi had me do a bunch of strength tests and balance tests and running tests on the treadmill,” Shaffer said. “On his recommendation, I’ve stopped heel striking by increasing my cadence and decreasing my stride length,” she added.
While Shaffer’s injury didn’t heal completely, she was able to control the pain and finish her cross country season strong.
The clinic’s focus on running came about because many members of Drexel’s faculty are experts in running, runners experience such a high injury rate and there are so many runners in the Philadelphia area, according to Maschi.
He added that 50-70 percent of runners experience an injury due to running per year.
On top of gait analysis for runners interested in improving their forms and preventing or rehabilitating injuries, the clinic also conducts this gait analysis for research purposes and is currently recruiting subjects for various related research projects.
These health services for runners are available by appointment at the Drexel Recreation Center in University City and the Parkway Health and Wellness Center in Center City.
Maschi said there is also interest in opening another physical therapy clinic at Drexel, with a particular focus on dance and dance medicine.
Cost for the analysis and comprehensive results package is $200, while injury rehabilitation can be paid for with insurance, the website College of Nursing and Health Professions indicates.