Running is a great way to improve your health and stay in shape. Unfortunately, there are several types of sports injuries frequently associated with running. The following are 4 common running injuries and the best ways to treat them.
Nearly every runner has experienced inflammation and pain in the tendons and muscles of the lower leg. Shin splints are more likely to occur after you change your workout routine, or dramatically increase your training volume, intensity or duration. Reducing your running duration or frequency, using over-the-counter pain relievers, and icing are all recommended treatments for shin splints. Another way to off load the shins while continuing your running is to do pool jogging. This allows your to continue to stress your cardiovascular system and work the same muscles as running while off loading the bones due to decreased impact on contact. If self treatment techniques are not enough, seek a proper evaluation by your physical therapist.
Officially named patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), this condition generally refers to the disfunction of the knee and potentially leading to breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap. According to Runner’s World approximately 40% of injuries sustained by runners are in the knee. PFPS can be due to a variety of reasons including but not limited to muscle tightness, muscle weakness and inflammation. Some self treatments to try include taking over the counter NSAIDs, foam rolling the quads, hamstrings and glutes, strengthening the hips and knees, and stretching the lower extremities. If these self treatments are not enough, you may need to seek physical therapy services in order to improve the condition.
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that leads to pain and swelling in the heel. Running in old or poor quality shoes can cause this condition, as well as dysfunction in the ankle, hip or knee. Icing, elevating the foot to reduce swelling, and wearing heel lifts to off load the tendon are treatment options used to improve Achilles tendonitis. Additionally an eccentric strengthening program will help both treat the flair up as well as prevent re-injury. If self treatment techniques are not sufficient or the issue is recurring, seek skilled physical therapy to undergo a complete evaluation.
Of all the various sports injuries, this is one that not only affects runners but can happen to almost anyone who walks a lot or stands on their feet for extensive periods of time. With this injury you can feel pain throughout the arch or the heal, typically worse in the mornings or after prolonged periods of inactivity. This injury can often be treated with rest, and a more appropriate pair of shoes, or custom orthotic inserts. Additionally performing daily calf stretching and rolling the bottom of your foot on a ball will help with symptom management. If the pain persists, seek an evaluation by your physical therapist for a comprehensive treatment plan.
Good shoes, proper running form, and adding strength training is often the key to preventing many types of running injuries. Once injuries have occurred you may benefit from adding physical therapy to your routine. According to a Wellness article in U.S. News, physical therapy is a better option for treating running related injuries than seeing a chiropractor or opting for surgery.