Running season is upon us….
With the spring weather in full bloom it’s the time when people want to get outside and get active and running is a popular way to do it. However, with the high rate of injuries in runners a lot of people use it as an excuse not to lace up their runners and get out on the road and/or trails. But the truth is most running injuries don’t come out of nowhere, in fact most are a result of training errors that are often preventable.
Guess who is running in the picture?
It’s our physiotherapist Stephanie who is an active marathon runner!
Why Do Runners Get Injured So Easily?
Just because we are able to run it doesn’t make us great runners. For a number of reasons, many runners develop injuries each year and at any one time approximately 25% of runners will have an injury. Most of the time it comes down to a change in workload which is often doing too much, too fast, too soon.
If we gradually increase the distances that we run (I like to use the 10% rule of a 10% increase in mileage per week), the muscle, tendon, and bone cells can respond to this increased workload and increase their ‘strength’ and endurance. If, however, we increase this workload too quickly, these structures start to break down and result in pain that causes us to change the way we run which, if left untreated, can result in additional injuries.
Changes in workload can be due to a change in:
- Distance / time / intensity of training
- Terrain (i.e. more hills, harder ground, slope of the road)
- Running technique
Common Running Injuries
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome: occurs when there is repetitive friction of the iliotibial band, a thick mass of tissue that courses down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the front of the knee. Irritation of the ITB usually causes intense burning pain in the outside portion of the kneecap.
- Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis is a muscle that resides deep in the hip and serves to rotate and stabilize the hip. Irritation of the piriformis muscle can cause hip and buttock pain.
- Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome (PFSS): This common knee problem occurs with improper tracking of the kneecap in the groove of the femur and causes pain around the kneecap.
- Shin Splints: Shin splints are caused by inflammation of the anterior tibialis tendon in the front of the shin. Symptoms of shin splints include pain, numbness and burning in the front of the shin.
- Plantar Fasciitis: The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that helps form the arch of the foot. Irritation of the plantar fascia can cause pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel bone.
How Can Sports Physiotherapy Help Runners?
Your sports physio clinic will look at a number of areas to determine what may have led to your injury, including:
- your running biomechanics
- footwear advice suitable to your foot
- training load – what is good, too much, too little
- joint range, muscle length and overall flexibility
- muscle strength: core control, foot arch control, hip, knee and lower limb control
Sports Physio for Runners
Once your sports physiotherapist has assessed your injury and identified the factors that have led to it, they will look to work with you to get you back into running as soon as possible. Your running injury may require a short period of rest in order to allow some healing to occur, during which time cross-training may be a good option to maintain your fitness.
If you are experiencing any of the above injuries, or pain has you altering your running form, our Burnaby Sports Rehab & Physiotherapy Clinic can help.
Please contact us at 604-558-CARE (2273) or online to make an appointment.
Stephanie Harrap, B.HK (Kin), M.PT
About me: Stephanie Harrap is a physiotherapist and active marathon and ultramarathon runner working in Burnaby, B.C.