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Are You Running Hurt?

How to Cope with a Running Injury - 10 Proven Ways - Running GlowRunning is a popular form of exercise that provides numerous benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and increased mood and energy levels. However, with any form of physical activity, there is always the risk of injury. In this blog, we will explore some of the common running injuries, their causes, and how they can be prevented and treated.

  1. Shin Splints: Shin splints are a common running injury that is characterized by pain in BOTH shinbones or tibias. They are typically caused by repetitive stress to the muscles, tendons, and bones in the lower leg. Overtraining, overpronation, weak foot intrisic strength that causes poor arch support, or weak calf muscles can all contribute to the development of shin splints. Poor mechanics that cause heel striking instead of a midfoot landing can also be a cause. To prevent shin splints, runners should gradually increase their mileage and have a mechanical evaluation by a physical therapists or specializes in running injury to help identify issues that could create shin splints.  

  2. Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is another common running injury that affects the foot. It is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. The condition is characterized by pain in the heel or arch of the foot, which can be particularly severe in the morning. Runners who have tight calf muscles or who overpronate are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Evaluation of fascial restrictions in the calf and thigh is critical for proper treatment and assesment to improve symptoms. Proper stretching and strengthening of the foot and calf muscles can help prevent this injury.

  3. IT Band Syndrome: The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of tissue that runs from the hip to the knee. IT band syndrome occurs when the band becomes inflamed or irritated, causing pain on the outside of the knee. Runners who overpronate or have weak hip muscles are more likely to develop IT band syndrome. This tissues is so tough that it cannot be stretched, but must have proper assessment and treatment by a physical therapist who can prescribe and perform proper soft tissue release techniques, such as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization and foam rolling. To prevent this injury, runners should incorporate exercises that strengthen the hips and glutes into their training routine as well as mobility to the ITB before/after training.

  4. Runner's Knee: Runner's knee is a broad term that encompasses several different conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. It is typically caused by overuse, poor form (heel striking), or muscle imbalances. Runners who have run with a quad dominant stride or have tight hip flexors and poor hip extension are more likely to develop runner's knee. To prevent this injury, runners should focus on mobility the quadriceps/hip flexors and proper running assessment for abnormal mechanics

  5. Achilles Tendinitis: The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, causing pain in the back of the ankle. Runners who do not stretch properly or who suddenly increase their mileage are more likely to develop this injury. Proper stretching and gradual increases in mileage can help prevent Achilles tendinitis.

In conclusion, running injuries are a common risk associated with the sport. However, with proper training, stretching, and equipment, runners can reduce their risk of injury and continue to enjoy the numerous benefits of running. It is important to listen to your body and seek an assessment from a physical therapist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of running inuries. Here at Sampsell PT and Functional Wellness, we will take a holistic approach to your running injury. A running specific evaluation will be done as well as addressing potential issues in your nutrition, stress, sleep and breathing to optimize your performance and healing.  If you experience persistent pain or discomfort or are interested in identifying potential issues that could lead to inuury or pain, call Sampsell PT for your free Discovery Session to have a running assessment. Happy running!