Running seems simpler and easier to everybody as all of us start running as toddlers and many of us continue with this activity throughout either for play, sports or exercise. But if the correct form is not maintained, this simple act can lead to serious injuries.
What causes running injuries?
When you start running for fitness, you particularly become prone to running injuries. There are certain stages at which you become more vulnerable to running injuries, like:
- During the initial 4 to 6 months of running
- Returning to running after injury
- Increase in distance of running
- Increase in speed
But the fact is, during these vulnerable stages, most of the injuries occur due to the training errors. Apart from these, there are several other factors that also contribute towards the running injuries. These are the factors that runners can avoid or prevent:
Training Errors: The most common cause of running injuries is the erroneous training regime. Inadequate stretching, frequent changes in mileage, heightened hill training, interval training and inadequate rest between training sessions all together make up for training errors.
Defective Running Shoe: An athlete should always select the footwear that fits comfortably and can accommodate his particular foot anatomy. You should replace your shoes after its mileage exceeds 500-600 miles.
Surfaces for running: The surface on which you run needs to be smooth, flat, soft and adaptable. Try to avoid concrete or rough road surfaces. Moreover, try to avoid hills initially as they place stress on knees and ankles.
What are the Common Running Injuries?
Most of the running injuries cause by applying repeated force over a long period of time. Whether you are a newbie or vet; sudden changes in training volume can cause any of the following injuries:
Runner’s Knee: When you experience a consistent tender pain around or behind the kneecap; it is a sure sign of patella femoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee. The repetitive force, downhill running, muscular imbalance and weak hips putting stress on the knee cap can cause the condition.
Achilles Tendinitis: The swelling of tissues connecting your heel to lover-leg muscles is known as Achilles Tendinitis. Rapid increase in mileage, improper footwear, tight calf muscles and flat foot contribute towards the condition.
Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation, irritation or tearing of plantar fascia; tissue on the bottom of the foot is known as plantar fasciitis. Runners experience extreme stiffness or pain in the arch of the foot due to the condition.
Shin Splints: When the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed and runners experience stabbing sensations in the shin; the condition is called shin splints.
Stress Fracture: Stress Fractures are the tiny cracks in the bones that occur due to repeatedly applying the greater force than the legs can bear.
Patellar Tendinitis: It is an overuse injury which leads to tiny tears in patellar tendon that connects kneecap to the shin bone.
Pulled Muscles: When due to overuse or inflexibility, a muscle is overstretched, it can tear fibers and tendons causing pulled muscles
Side stitches: Awful pain on the side of the stomach formally known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (EJAP) caused due to diaphragm spasm because of overwork or poor running posture
Bursitis: Bursitis of hip develops because of the inflammation of a bursa between the hip and the tendon.
What are the Physical Therapy treatments suggested for Running Injuries?
A physical therapist begins treating an injured runner by conducting physical evaluation and asking questions about his running habits, regime, equipments and techniques. The therapists usually begin by suggesting patients to take rest and modifying his/her running habits. In order to prevent recurring injuries; physical therapists develop pre-and post-workout routines for them with strength work, warm-ups, stretches and cool-downs. Other specific treatments may include:
For knees: Physical therapists may suggest stretching and strengthening of hamstring, quadriceps and hip musculature along with cold therapy. Modalities like ultrasound and supportive or corrective taping techniques may also be applied.
For ankle pain and sprains: Physical therapists may suggest strengthening exercises to enhance stability. Foot orthotics may be suggested. Moreover physical therapists may also suggest massage, ice, ultrasound or electrical stimulation for tissue healing.
For Achilles Tendon Pain: Most of the times, therapists suggest rest and limited use as these are best to treat the problem. Apart from this, a therapist may also suggest heat and cold therapy, ultrasound and massage therapy to reduce swelling.
For Foot: Special shoe inserts or foot orthotics and other modification are suggested so that shoe fits properly. Therapeutic exercises accompanied by modalities like manual treatment techniques and ultrasound may also be suggested.
For Shin Splints: Deep tissue massage may be used to reduce inflammation. Supportive taping may also be applied to alleviate stress within the affected region.
For Plantar Fasciitis: Arch supports, soft-tissue massage are used to alleviate pain. Calf stretches before and after workouts may also help.
For Bursitis: Therapists will suggest stretches to restore full hip motion and to reduce friction.
Contact Alliance Physical Therapy for the expert diagnosis and state of art treatment of your pain and injuries. Our diligent team of physical therapists use patient-proven techniques and state-of-art technologies to make you as healthy and fit as before.