If you’re a runner
… Beware the common overuse injuries that runners experience.
… Prevent runner’s knee with good strengthening and running with a shorter stride.
… Increase training gradually to avoid Achilles tendinitis.
… Consider gait analysis to identify your unique movements, determine normal gait patterns, diagnose issues causing pain and implement treatments to correct abnormalities, in addition to suggesting the best running shoe for you.
Running Injuries – Not A Question Of If, But When
Sports experts estimate as many as 90 percent of runners miss some training time every year due to an injury. Whether you’ve just picked up running as a sport or have been running for years, sooner or later you’re going to experience an injury.
How do runners get injured? For most, the culprit is overuse.
Even with proper training, running puts a lot of stress on your bones, joints and tendons. Over time, these tissues get strained and wear down, causing debilitating pain and stiffness. Because overuse injuries come on gradually, they are easy to miss until they hurt so bad you can barely walk, much less run.
As a runner, you should not only watch out for signs of overuse; you should also be aware how common injuries occur. The sooner you notice something is amiss, the quicker you can give your body a rest and seek necessary treatment. Who wants to exacerbate an injury further?
Common Runner’s Injuries
Almost half of all running injuries involve the knees. This shouldn’t be surprising, as you can’t run without them! But all of that repetitive knee movement can cause various painful conditions that will keep you from training.
Runner’s knee is the common term for these conditions that cause pain to the kneecap. Overuse either irritates the soft tissues around the knee, strains the tendons or tears cartilage.
You’re more likely to suffer from runner’s knee if you have flat feet; weak quadriceps, hips and glutes; or overpronation (inward movement of the arch/ankle). Proper strengthening and stretching and running with a shorter stride that allows you to land on a slightly bent knee can reduce these risks.
The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. If you begin feeling a mild ache and tightness there, you could have tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis usually occurs when you suddenly increase the duration or intensity of your running, wear poorly fitting running shoes or have weak calf muscles. You can prevent it by increasing running gradually, wearing the right shoes, taking time to stretch and strengthening your calves.
Most runners quickly become familiar with shin splints. These sharp, stabbing pains in your shins are common in athletes who run on flat surfaces. They happen because the impact of running stresses the muscles and tendons covering your shinbone and they become inflamed. Shin splints are difficult to prevent, but it helps to wear properly fitted shoes with shock-absorbing insoles and try to run on softer ground when possible.
Your plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. Usually, it acts as a shock absorber when you run, but too much pressure can cause inflammation and tears. Soon you feel a dull ache in the arch of your foot, especially first thing in the morning. Risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis include having tight hip flexors, a weak core musculature, very high or low arches, excess pronation or supination or a history of lower back pain. Wearing shoes with good support, limiting high-impact activities and proper stretching can all help prevent plantar fasciitis.
Every avid runner can expect to experience at least one of these injuries over the life of your sport. Following the tips will help you keep your body runner-strong, preventing unexpected injury. Working with a sports-specific physical therapist can also help you prevent and treat these injuries.
Gait Analysis – A Runner’s Secret Weapon Against Injury
Gait analysis is one way your physical therapist can help you prevent injury. A runner’s technique or form can dictate the amount of pain that develops, which could lead to poor performance and injury.
By measuring the exact degrees and angles of your knees, ankles and hips during running, gait analysis can help you improve your running form to enhance performance and decrease pain.
The running programs at True Sports Physical Therapy offer you gait analysis, training strategies and recovery protocols that will decrease joint load, muscle overuse and injury. For the best most advanced results, talk with one of True Sports’ staff experts on our state-of-the-art 3D gait analysis service for the most accurate data about how you move, how to prevent injury, how to improve your running performance and how to treat your running injuries.
True Sports Physical Therapy – Where Maryland Athletes Rehab
At True Sports, we’re sports-focused because you’re sports-focused. The best physical therapists in Baltimore and Maryland provide the highest level of sports physical therapy and expertise you need to get back to your sport. With five convenient state-of-the-art locations to choose from, any athlete who takes their rehab seriously can get awesome care and extraordinary results. Select your location and schedule an appointment and have True Sports get you back to your team. For questions about insurance or self-pay rates, please call our office at 1-401-946-1672.