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  • Writer's pictureclairemcdonaldpt

Tips for Running with a Stroller

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

One of our main family activities is going for a run together with Keira, who is now 1.5 years old. Before Keira was born, my husband Liam and I always liked to go for runs together, and I think its important to keep some of these traditions alive post kids! Lately, Liam had been complaining of right sided sacroiliac (SI) joint pain associated with how much running he had been doing lately.

He usually is the one who will push the stroller, so one day I noticed that he was only pushing her using his right hand. A few other things I noticed and suggested:

  • He was running 5-6 days a week, sometimes twice per day. He wasn't doing any other activities, so I suggested working on some strengthening exercises for cross training. For him, I recommended some lateral hip and core stability, such as squats, single leg squats, split squats, lateral sliders, standing hip abduction using bands, side planks and some more core stability exercises.

  • I did some Dry Needling (also called IMS) on some muscles that were working overtime, such as his piriformis, lumbar erector spinae, QLs, and gluts. He noticed instant relief. I also did some manual therapy and manipulations to his lumbar spine and SI joint and he felt better after that too!

  • I gave him some pointers on running with a stroller. I told him to alternate which hand he used for pushing, and how to keep good form behind the wheel. Keep your head up, your shoulders back and down, lead with your chest and maintain a slight bend in your elbow, and stay as close to the stroller as you can.

After a couple sessions of physiotherapy with me, and some adjustments to his running technique, Liam's right sided SI joint pain disappeared. Running with a stroller is hard work, so I've outlined some more tips to stay injury free:

Baby Safety First:

  • Is your baby old enough? Experts recommend it's not safe to run with a child under six months old. By this time, their spine is strong enough and they have the strength to sit up.

  • The running stroller ideally should have a handlebar brake, wrist strap and five point harness for those fast, downhill bumpy parts of your run.

  • In the colder weather, make sure your baby is warm enough, and in the summer, a sunshield can be a good idea.

Mom's Safety:

  • Are you ready to run postpartum? Running with a stroller is obviously harder than running without one, so I recommend that you are able and confident running stroller-free first. Have you adequately recovered from a caesarean or vaginal delivery and do you have the necessary strength in your pelvic floor, core and gluts for running? Has it been at least 3-6 months postpartum (or more!)? I wrote a blog post a few months ago on my personal return to running journey as a new mom, and I outline the criteria I use to test if you are safe to return to running postpartum. Check it out HERE.

  • Running with a stroller prevents the natural arm swing of running, which puts more stress through your SI joint. Switching hands often prevents imbalances from occurring and allows for your lower back pain, hips and pelvis to move through the natural range of motion that occurs with arm swing.

Any questions? Feel free to send me a message, or book an appointment online with me to check in on your running technique, strength and pelvic floor health!

Happy running, friends!

Claire McDonald

Registered Physiotherapist

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