Are you wondering why you experience bladder leakage (stress urinary incontinence) when you run? We see many ladies in clinic who complain of bladder leakage during running, and so often these ladies will limit or avoid this activity all together, due to the embarrassment and inconvenience of bladder leakage.
It’s common to blame incontinence solely on a weak pelvic floor, but this isn’t always the case. Stress Urinary Incontinence occurs when there is too much pressure on your bladder and not enough pressure pushing back up. This can sometimes occur due to a poor fascial support of the bladder neck and urethra (which may warrant different treatment options or additional support such as incontinence pessary devices). While a strong pelvic floor can help support your bladder, you also need to move properly to prevent undue pressure on your bladder. Stiffness and bracing in the thorax and abdomen can push pressure downward, which is why our we assess and treat the thorax and try to re-teach how to reduce bracing patterns. We also work on optimizing shock absorption from the ground up, starting with the feet and calf complex.
While pelvic floor strength and full-body pressure management are important, two other factors also contribute to incontinence: consistent full-body strength training and running technique. Neglecting muscle groups such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calf complex can lead to injuries and increased pressure on your pelvic floor. Running technique also plays a crucial role in injury prevention and management. By focusing on stride length, overstriding, heel striking, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and knee angle at midstance, we can help you improve your running biomechanics and prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. By encouraging shorter, faster steps, we can reduce contact time with the ground and decrease the impact on your body.
The muscle group strengthening we should be including on our running checklist involve glutes, quads, hamstrings and most importantly, your calf complex.
If you experience bladder leakage when running, chat to a Pelvic Health Physio today, so we can consider all factors which may be contributing to your symptoms, so we can help support you to maintain your running!