As the weather gets warmer in Philadelphia, many runners are gearing up for road race season. Running is an excellent form of exercise, but it can also come with some common injuries. In this post, we will discuss some of the most common running-related injuries and why seeking physical therapy for any running-related pain is essential.
Shin splints are among the most common running injuries affecting novice and seasoned runners. Shin splints occur when the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the shinbone (or Tibia) become inflamed. Symptoms of shin splints include pain, tenderness, and swelling along the inner part of the shinbone. If your pain is directly on the front or just to the outside of the lower leg, it may not be shin splints but another, more easily treatable condition.
Shin splints are typically caused by overuse, improper footwear, or running on hard surfaces. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with shin splints by strengthening the muscles surrounding the shin and stretching the ankle. Most importantly, your physical therapist will work with you to improve your running form to help prevent future injuries.
(PS- if you have yet to hear, we are partnering with Philadelphia Runner–Manayunk, who will run our treadmill analysis! We’re still discussing the details, but stay tuned for an official announcement!)
Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a condition where the kneecap is out of alignment and rubs against the femur. Symptoms of runner’s knee include pain in the front of the knee, especially when going up or down stairs, sitting for prolonged periods, or bending the knee for long periods.
Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse, weak thigh muscles (the lateral hip is probably the *most* important), improper footwear, or improper running form. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with runner’s knee by strengthening the muscles that control the knee and improving running form through specialized neuro-muscular training.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running along the foot’s bottom, becomes inflamed. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the heel or arch of the foot. More specifically, pain is located just in front of the heel bone, right before the arch.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by overuse, improper footwear, flat feet, or even a very high arch. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with plantar fasciitis by stretching and strengthening the plantar fascia and addressing any underlying muscle imbalances or structural issues. If pain is persistent, medical imaging (X-Ray, MRI, or Ultrasound) is sometimes needed to help direct treatment. Sometimes, extra medial arch support is necessary for those who have flatter feet. This is accomplished with custom-made or over-the-counter orthotics.
IT Band Syndrome
IT Band (Friction) Syndrome is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the knee. It occurs when the iliotibial (IT) band, a thick band of tissue that runs from the hip to the knee, becomes inflamed. Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome include pain, tenderness, and swelling on the outside of the knee.
IT Band Syndrome can be caused by overuse, weak hip muscles, or improper running form. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with IT Band Syndrome by strengthening the hip muscles, addressing any underlying muscle imbalances, and improving running form.
Peroneal tendonitis is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the foot near the ankle. It occurs when the peroneal muscles are weakened or overused, and the tendons of those muscles become inflamed. Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include pain, tenderness, and swelling on the outside of the foot and just behind the lateral ankle bone.
Overuse, weak ankle or hip muscles, higher arches, or improper running form can cause peroneal tendonitis. Physical therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with peroneal tendonitis by strengthening the ankle and hip muscles, addressing any underlying muscle imbalances, and improving running form. Like, plantar fasciitis, sometimes more medial arch support is needed in the form of a custom orthotic—which we make at our office.
Why Seek Physical Therapy for Running-Related Injuries?
Physical therapy can be a crucial component of recovering from running-related injuries. By working with a physical therapist, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan to address the root cause of your pain. Physical therapy can also help prevent future injuries by addressing any muscle imbalances or weaknesses contributing to your pain.
Physical therapy can include a variety of techniques, including stretching, strengthening exercises, medical massage, and joint mobilization. At McKenzie Sports Physical Therapy, your physical therapist will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. That’s what we do best– check our reviews!
In conclusion, running is an excellent form of exercise, but it can also come with some common injuries. If you experience any pain related to running, it’s essential to seek physical therapy. A physical therapist can help alleviate your pain and prevent future injuries, allowing you to continue running pain-free.
Got Pain? Have a race soon?
Contact us for our “Peace of Mind Running Injury Examination!” We’ll let you know if you can continue running through the pain or modify your routine. We aim to keep you running so you can crush that race! Give us a text or call us now!