Helping Runners and Endurance Athletes Be Their Best: Treating Your Running Injury
A running injury can keep you off the road for weeks, months, or longer. If you are dealing with a running injury, you know how frustrating it can be. In the paragraphs below, we talk about common running injuries, their causes, and how you can treat a running injury using a variety of time-tested and innovative techniques.
Types of Running Injuries
A running injury can impact anything from your lower back all the way to the soles of your feet. Here are the injuries runners report most often:
· Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome) is a running injury that causes pain around the kneecap ranging from mild to very painful. It tends to get worse when climbing stairs, squatting, jumping, or sitting with your knees bent for a while. It has several different causes, including weakness or imbalance of the quadriceps, problems with the feet, and misalignment of the leg bones.
· Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) cause pain along the shinbone (tibia) and are usually due to overuse, improper running form, running on hard surfaces, and increasing running distances too quickly. Shin splints are an extremely common running injury.
· Achilles Tendinopathy involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel. It is often caused by overuse or inadequate stretching and typically happens after increasing your distances or your speed too quickly. This frustrating running injury can sideline you for weeks or even months.
· Plantar Fasciitis is a pain in the heel or arch of the foot due to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot. This injury can come from increasing your running distance too quickly or from muscle weakness or tightness in your calves.
· Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome is caused by overuse or tightness of the IT band, a thick band of tissue running from the hip to the knee. Weak gluteal muscles, abdominals, or hips can also be a cause. The main symptom of IT Band Syndrome is pain on the outer side of the leg just above the knee.
· Lower Back Pain which is often caused by poor biomechanics or weak abdominal muscles. Because it does not affect the hips, legs, or feet, you may not immediately identify lower back pain as a running injury, but it can be.
There are many other related injuries, including ankle sprains, hamstring strains, bursitis, and stress fractures. If it gets worse when you run, your running injury needs to be treated.
Treating a Running Injury
A good initial treatment for a running injury is RICE (Rest, Ice the area, apply Compression, and Elevate the affected area). With enough RICE, you might be back running after a few days, but if the pain comes back or gets worse, it is time to seek treatment.
You will need an assessment of the root cause of your pain to address it effectively. Your family doctor can get you started with an exam and diagnostic tests, but treatment will probably require ongoing care. Here are some effective ongoing treatments for running injuries:
Physiotherapy is the cornerstone of rehabilitative therapy for a running injury. A physiotherapist can assess your injury and create a personalized plan tailored to your needs and goals while helping you correct any problems with your running form and biomechanics that may have contributed to your running injury.
Treatment can include exercises and manual therapies such as joint mobilization and soft tissue manipulation to help improve your joint mobility and promote faster healing. A physiotherapist can also make recommendations about changes to your form and gait, as well as footwear or custom orthotics to help you prevent another running injury.
If your running injury stems from spinal misalignment or issues with the nervous system, chiropractic treatment can provide relief and improved function. Chiropractic may be combined with other therapies, such as physiotherapy and massage, depending on your care team’s assessment.
Massage therapy can be extremely helpful for treating a running injury by improving joint mobility and decreasing muscle tension.
Shockwave therapy accelerates the healing process by targeting a series of high-energy percussions to the injured area. This has the effect of recruiting healing resources in the immediate area of the running injury. Shockwave therapy sessions only last about 5 to 10 minutes and can be easily done on your lunchbreak.
Graston Technique® is an innovative approach that promotes healing by locating and treating areas of inflammation or fibrous scar tissue. It is a manual technique that uses handheld instruments that are run along your body, along with other treatment protocols such as ice, heat, and stretching.
The ancient technique of acupuncture remains a popular and effective method of relieving pain and promoting mobility. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points in the body and leaving them in place for up to 45 minutes. This time-tested technique is used for a wide range of physical and psychological conditions, including running injuries.
Taping an injured area with specialty kinesiology tape has become very popular among athletes in a variety of sports, including running. The tape itself is designed to have the same elasticity and thickness as human skin, so it does not distract from your activities and does not restrict movement. Taping provides pain relief and enhances stability following a running injury. It can also prevent you from exacerbating an injury by supporting joints and muscles as you are using them.
Ready to get back to enjoying pain-free running? Chiro-Med Rehab Centre can help. Our experienced rehabilitation staff will assess yourinjury, recommend treatment, and guide you to a smooth recovery while helping you prevent re-injury. Because we work with a wide range of techniques, we are able to provide you with care that is optimized for your condition, your needs, and your goals.
We are conveniently located at 10520 Yonge St., Unit #1, in Richmond Hill, Ontario, just south of Elgin Mills Rd. E. Contact us today by phone at (905)918-0419, email, or via our web portal. Let’s get you back on the road, track, or treadmill again!