Common Running Injuries
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as going for a great run.
Running increases your heart rate, decreases stress, and provides you with the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Upper Valley. However, Almost everyone who runs will, at some point, experience a running related injury. when an injury crops up that prevents you from hitting the pavement, it can be a frustrating experience.
Running injuries most commonly occur in the lower extremity, often at the knee, but also affect other areas of the body including the lower back, pelvis, hips, shins, and the foot and ankle. Recognizing common running injuries early and learning the proper way to treat them can get you back in your favorite sneakers and out on your favorite trail sooner.
Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis often begins as pain under the heel or in the arch of the foot and is often worse first thing in the morning. Proper shoe wear and stretching routines can alleviate this pain.
Achilles tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis is often felt as a stabbing pain or soreness in the back of the ankle and into the calf. Proper stretching of all of the muscles that insert into the Achilles tendon is important in rehabilitating this injury, as is proper strength training.
Shin splints: Dull aching pain can occur either on the medial (inside) aspect of the shin (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) or the lateral (outside) aspect of the shin (Lateral Tibial Stress Syndrome) depending on the structures involved. While pain from shin splints tends to ease over the course of a run, this does not necessarily mean that the problem has gone away and after a short rest, the pain may come back even more intensely. Shin splints can often be mistaken for other, more serious conditions such as stress fractures or compartment syndrome, so it is important to have this injury checked by a health care professional.
PFPS: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is often felt as pain under the kneecap or around the knee. PFPS is a term used to describe dysfunction that occurs at the kneecap as a result of imbalances in the strength and flexibility of the structures that hold the kneecap in the proper alignment. Any imbalance in these structures can lead to wear and tear on the joint surface of the kneecap and irritation of the tendons at the base of the kneecap. It’s important to discover the cause of PFPS and not just treat the symptoms of this condition to prevent reoccurrence.
ITB Syndrome: The illiotibial band is a long tissue that runs from your hip into your knee and can cause pain both in the lateral (outside) region of the knee and in the hip, often in the form of hip bursitis. ITB Syndrome usually worsens with running and can be debilitating if not properly treated.
While identifying your injury is important, it is not sufficient to merely treat the symptoms, as many running injuries re-occur if not rehabilitated correctly. Instead, discovering the factors that lead to the injury in the first place are the keys to effective recovery. Running injuries are often multi-factorial and are a result of both intrinsic factors (your body mechanics) as well as extrinsic factors such as your running shoes or training regime.
Physical therapists can help you develop a comprehensive approach to a recovery from injury including pain management, flexibility, strengthening, core stabilization and balance exercises so you can get back on the road performing at your best.