5 of the Most Common Overuse Injuries in Running

So, you want to get into running eh? Checking out risks associated with the sport isn’t a bad idea. Afterall, the last thing you would want is to be in a routine only to be thrown out of whack by an unexpected injury. Luckily we have some inside info on the kinds of overuse injuries, the risk factors, and how to prevent these pains or injuries from occurring during your runs.

Injuries

Surprisingly, the most common injuries that result from running aren’t traumatic. You are much more likely to experience knee pain than a sprained ankle when it comes to running. So why is that, and what other injuries are you at risk for when you run?

Achilles Tendinopathy:

This injury is actually caused by physical changes that occur in the tendon most commonly from overuse.

Symptoms

  • Characterised by an initial pain or stiffness that goes away after a few steps or with stretches.
  • If left unaddressed, can swell up, and pain can transform and evolve to be sharp and felt in the heel area.

Risk factors

  • Very high arches
  • Very flat arches
  • Poor footwear
  • Tight calves
  • Leg length discrepancy

Treatment and Prevention

  • stretching can resolve some pain from symptoms
  • Rest from speed and hill training
  • Wear shoes that will support your foot soles
  • Strengthen the surrounding muscles

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome:

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by muscles that are too weak in glutes and quad. The pain is related to straining of the patellofemoral joint in the knee. 

Symptoms

  • Slight pain and tightness at front of knee when engaging in physical activities
  • If left unaddressed, can cause sharp or dull pain, and swelling

Risk Factors

  • Weak quad muscles
  • Slowed glute contraction time

Treatment and Prevention

  • Strengthening glutes along with quads is necessary to prevent patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Stretching and taping must be done to allow the joint and muscle to heal properly

Plantar Fasciitis:

An issue with the bone and muscle structure in the foot and calf which affects the bottom of the foot, heel, and potentially calf.

Symptoms

  • Initial stiffness in sole and calf that goes away after the morning
  • If not treated in time can cause sharp pain in heel and sole making it painful to walk
  • Sharp pain may last longer than a few steps
  • WIll hurt more after sitting for a period of time

Risk Factors

  • Poor and flat footwear can be a problem
  • Thin soles and sandals contribute
  • Higher BMI will put you at even greater risk

Treatment and Prevention

  • Pulling backwards big toe to stretch
  • Calf massage to loosen muscle
  • Wearing supportive footwear
  • Strengthen arch will calf raises 
  • Reduce running intensity

Shin Splints

There are three reasons you could be experiencing shin splints.  The first occurs when the muscle attaches to the bone, this is known as medial tibial stress syndrome.  Shin splints also refer to the pain from a small fracture in tibia.  The final cause for this uncomfortable feeling is called chronic exertional compartment syndrome and occurs when the muscle is expanding too quickly.

Symptoms

  • Pain in front of shin when performing low intensity exercises
  • Pain gets worse with use
  • Tight feeling in muscles
  • More pain at night when fracture is present

Risk Factors

  • Risk factors for muscle attaching to bone include
    •  less running experience
    • Flat feet
    • Less lower leg muscle
    • Female
  • Risk factors for small fracture include
    • Poor nutrition
    • Low body weight
  • Risk factors for muscle expanding too quickly
    • Small muscle pockets comparative to how large the muscle is 

Treatment and Prevention

  • Go gradually, don’t start out with intense running
  • Consult nutritionist
  • Practice low weight bearing activities in meantime
  • Ensure proper footwear
  • Massages may help

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome:

The muscular band extending from hip to knee is called the Iliotibial band,  pain in this band can arise from repeated friction of the muscle on the outer knee

Symptoms

  • Tightness in the outer knee and thigh when running or cycling
  • If left untreated, Sharp pain may develop during repetitive motion activities

Risk Factors

  • Weak hip abductors 
  • Female
  • Leg length discrepancy over 2cm 

Treatment and Prevention

  • Strengthen glutes
  • Stretch and massage glutes
  • Decrease running distance
  • Decrease downhill running

Hamstring Proximal Tendinopathy

This particular overuse injury, like achilles tendinopathy results from physical changes in the tendon attached to the hamstring muscle.  A crushed bursa located between the knee and hamstring tendon could also be the cause of the pain felt

Symptoms

  • Tight middle hamstring and buttox
  • Pain when ascending stairs
  • Can worsen to include:
    • Deeper felt hamstring pain
    • Hamstring contractions
    • Pain when sitting

Risk Factors

  • Awkward pelvic rotation
  • Landing heavily on the heel

Treatment and Prevention

  • Massage hamstring
  • Strengthen hamstring

You now have all the information about what is going on in your body when you come face to face within overuse injury.  With the mentioned preventions and treatments you should be back to activities in no time.  To increase effectiveness of treatments, and prevention, Delta physiotherapy offers a wide variety of services.  Don’t let your overuse render your muscles useless.  Let our trained professionals generate a specialized plan and course of action including stretches and massage to perfect your performance.  GIve us a call today to set up an appointment!

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