Whether you’re a beginner or an avid runner dedicated to training, there are some injuries you are bound to encounter. Here are a few common running injuries and things one can do to treat it.
Runner’s Knee – Another name for this is Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The name comes from the tendon that stretches from the hip down across the knee. This band becomes very tight from repetitive running and can cause significant pain. The friction of the tight band sliding against the outside of the knee cause inflammation and pain. Downhill running can predispose this condition. Moreover, those of us that are bow legged or pronated (turned in) feet have a predisposition, as well. Preventative measures include stretching and limiting drastic changes in the pace and surface of the run. Treatment includes physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and orthotics. Typically, I recommend shutting down the running during rehab and returning gradually once pain free.
Knee Tendonitis or Bursitis – This seems to be a bit more common in males. It is exacerbated with downhill running and foot pronation. Key prevention tip is to be moderate with the pace and surface of your run. Unfortunately, when training for the marathon does not allow that luxury. Anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy is very effective treatment.
Shin Splints – This causes pain in the mid-tibia bone between the knee and ankle. It is related to inflammation to a superficial layer over the bone. There are various physical attributes that predispose this condition such as the angle of the hip bone, bend of the tibia bone or rotation of the foot. This needs to be distinguished from a stress fracture which is also common in runners. The key treatment for shin splints is rest and physical therapy.
Stress Fracture – In runners and athletes the most common location of a stress fracture. This is a result of excessive pounding where the bone experiences constant stress and results in micro -fractures. Rest and non-weightbearing is the treatment if it is caught in the earlier stages. Surgery may be necessary if it is neglected and the fracture crosses from one end of the bone to the other. It is imperative for a runner to see an orthopedic surgeon promptly if he or she is experiencing constant pain in the tibia bone.
Achilles Tendon Contracture – The front of the foot pushes down as the heel raises and body moves forward during running. Some runners develop a push off with the toe instead, with hyperextension of the knee, this can lead to a contracture of the Achilles tendon behind the ankle and foot. The best prevention is repetitive Achilles tendon stretching before and after any run. Remember that the proper way of stretching the Achilles is to slightly internally rotate the foot while standing and facing the wall and keep the heel flat on the floor during the stretch. A physical therapist would guide a runner through proper stretches during therapy sessions.
Running is a wonderful aerobic exercise and during Marathon season we are reminded of that fact. It is important, though, to take all proper precautions, hydrate well and consult with an orthopedic surgeon if any ailments or injuries occur.