It's seems like every weekend there is a 5k, 8k, 10k, mud run, color run or the upcoming suntrust marathon here in richmond virginia. Many runners train themselves versus joining a training team and thus may have experienced some injuries along the way. I want to go over 3 of the most common running injuries and how physical therapy may be able to help prevent injury or help relieve your pain.
1. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or "runner's knee," is the irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap). About 40 percent of running injuries are knee injuries. PFPS typically flares up during or after long runs, after extended periods of sitting, or while descending hills and stairs.
2. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The iliotibial band lies along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee. When you run, your knee flexes and extends, which causes the IT band to rub on the side of the femur. This can cause irritation if you take up your mileage too quickly, especially if you're doing a lot of track work or downhill running. ITBS makes up 12 percent of all running injuries.
3. "Shinsplints" refers to medial tibial stress syndrome, an achy pain that results when small tears occur in the muscles around your tibia (shin bone). This makes up about 15 percent of running injuries.
If you are already injured, all of these share a common prescription: REST and ICE! If you are looking to prevent any of these injuries, one word, crosstrain. A balanced core, hip, knee and ankle strengthening and stretching program. Ride a bike, the elliptical, swim, try Pilates or running in different directions. If you are still experiencing pain, make an appointment to see one of our OrthoVirginia physical therapists to give you a complete evaluation and focus on the muscle groups that need the help. We offer strengthening and stretching techniques that promote ROM and a healthy blood flow and oxygen to the muscle tissue. Soft tissue mobilization to relax tight and tense muscles and improve circulation, tissue remodeling and joint mobility. Kinesiotaping to help support muscles and improve the stability of joints that are in a particularly weakened state from overuse/strain or injury. As well as, a footwear and injury education.
Remember not to start too fast, too far, too soon; pacing yourself will gain you pain free mileage in the end!
Melissa Hernandez, PTA
OrthoVirginia Johnston Willis Physical Therapy