Top 5 Running Injuries

The five most common running injuries are:

  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band)

PLANTAR FASCITIS 

Definition: It is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick fibrous band of tissue that runs from your heel and fans out to the ball of your foot.  When this fascia is placed under too much stress it can tear.

Symptoms:

  • Pain on the bottom of your foot usually more so at the heel.
  • Usually worse in the morning, or at the beginning of a run.

     Causes:

  • Over stressing the plantar fascia
  • Over tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus)
  • Overpronation of the foot
  • Over training
  • High foot arches or rigid feet
  • Misalignment in the bony structure of your foot

     Treatment:

  • ·         Stop running if pain is severe
  • Decrease training time if symptoms are only mild
  • Apply ice to the area either by doing ice massage with water frozen in a Dixie cup (5 minutes) or by freezing water in a 500 ml pop bottle and rolling your foot on it for 15 minutes.  Take an hour off and repeat all day long if possible.
  • Roll a golf ball under your foot first thing in the morning and right before bed for five minutes spending extra time on the tender areas.
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotics to control over pronation
  • Stretch calf muscles

ACHILLES TENDONITIS

Definition: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon at the back of your foot where the calf muscles attach to your foot.

Symptoms:

  • Pain that is dull or sharp usually close to the heel
  • Decreased ankle flexibility
  • Possible redness or swelling in the area
  • Crepitus (crackling noise) with ankle movement

Causes:

  • Over tight calf muscles 
  • Rapid increase in distance, hill running
  • Shoes that are inflexible
  • Over pronation of foot

Treatment:

  • Stop running until symptoms subside
  • Apply ice to the area for 15 minutes on 60 minutes off and repeat all day.
  • Massage of the tendon to decrease inflammation and breakup any scar tissue present.
  • GENTLE stretching of the calf muscles
  • Orthotics
  • Stop hill running until symptoms subside

SHIN SPLINTS

Definition: Inflammation of the muscle attachment usually along the front of the shin.

 

Symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness along the shin usually about half way down your leg.
  • Pain may be worse at the beginning of a run and then decrease as the muscle warms up.

Cause:

  • Tight calf muscles
  • Overpronation
  • Running on concrete
  • Training too much too soon (over training)
  • Usually affects beginner runners because the muscles are not use to the workload and fatigue quickly leading to injury.

Treatment:

  • Stop running if pin is severe
  • Decrease intensity/time if pain is only mild
  • Ice the area 15 minutes on 60 minutes off repeat all day
  • Massage the area
  • Orthotics
  • Stretch calf muscles
  • Strengthen anterior shin muscles by dangling your leg off a chair with weights around your toes and draw your toes upward or if you have exercise tubing. Sit on the floor loop one end around your toes and the other around a heavy object and draw your toes towards you.  With these exercises do 3 sets of 20 repetitions with each leg.

CHONDROMALACIA PATELLA

 

Definition:  A softening/ cracking of the cartilage on the backside of the kneecap causing it to become rough.

Symptoms:

  • Pain either behind the kneecap or just off to the sides
  • Crepitus or grinding of the kneecap
  • Increase in pain after hill running
  • Possible swelling of the knee

Causes:

  • Patellar tracking problem due to muscle imbalances of the quadriceps muscles.  Inner quads are weaker than the outer quads.
  • Overpronation
  • Running on cambered surfaces (roads are all cambered for rain water runoff so you are essentially running with one leg longer than the other.
  • Pelvis and/or lumbosacral misalignments

Treatment:

  • Stop running
  • Apply ice 15 minutes on 60 minutes off repeat all day
  • Massage
  • Correct pelvis and/or lumbosacral misalignments
  • Correct muscle imbalances:
    1. Place pillow under your knee, tighten your quads, push your knee into the pillow while lifting your foot off the floor
    2. leg extensions with your toes pointed outwards.
    3. Do partial squats, knees bent between 45 and 60o   making sure knee travels out over big toe, hold 5 seconds and repeat 15-20 times.
  • Stretch quadriceps, hamstrings, ITB, Hip muscles and low back.
  • Orthotics
  • Avoid running on the edge of the road
  • Avoid running down hills

ILIOTIBIAL BAND (ITB) SYNDROME

 

Definition: Pain and inflammation on the outside of your knee just above the joint line.

Symptoms:

  • Pain that usually starts about 1 mile into the run and stays there for the rest of the run.  Often no pain after the run. 
  • If it is severe you will not be able to run due to the pain.
  • Worse going down hill
  • Worse running on cambered surfaces

Causes:

  • Overpronation
  • Misalignment in the pelvis and/or lumbosacral area
  • Tight ITB band causing the tendon to rub excessively on the outer knee producing inflammation and pain.

Treatment:

  • Stop running if pain is severe
  • Decrease intensity if pain is mild
  • Apply ice to the area 15 minutes on 60 minutes off repeat all day.
  • Massage
  • Orthotics
  • Correct pelvis and/or lumbosacral misalignments
  • Stretch ITB, quads, hamstrings, hips and low back
  • Strengthen quads, hamstrings and calf muscles

 

 



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