While lacing up those running shoes and hitting the pavement might be your favorite form of exercise (or even your favorite way to relieve stress), just about everyone that has ever run knows that the sport doesn’t come without injury. According to Active.com, “anywhere between 65 percent and 80 percent of runners get laid up with an injury.” Which means as a runner you are more likely to eventually suffer an injury than not.
Common injuries to runners
Even if you have only lapped the track when required to do so when you were younger in school there is a good chance that you have experienced some of these common runner injuries:
- Shin Splints – You know it as that stabbing pain that runs along your shin (the front of your leg between the knee and foot). Shin splints are one of the most common injuries to runners, caused by inflammation of the tendons and muscles that cover your shinbone.
- Sprained Ankle – According to webmd.com about 25,000 people suffer from a sprained ankle every day. Whether you are trail running or on a smooth track, one slight misstep can leave you with the pain of a sprained ankle. When your foot rolls to the side it stretches the ligaments resulting in possible bruising, pain, swelling and difficulty moving the ankle. This injury requires time off from future runs while recovering.
- Pulled Muscles – This can occur in different muscles, but runners typically deal with this injury in their hamstrings and calves. Pulled muscles result in possible bruising, pain to the muscle while being used and sometimes while at rest. Easy ways to do your best avoiding this injury include remembering to complete warm ups, not pushing yourself too far and stretching on a regular basis.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome – If you have pain around and behind your kneecap or experience popping or grinding in the area, you might be suffering from this injury also known as Runner’s Knee. This injury is common to runners (hence the name “Runner’s Knee”) and can be caused by anything from overuse to bones that are slightly misaligned.
- Achilles Tendinitis – this injury tends to be from overuse and is common in runners who have just increased their workload, either by distance or intensity. You will find your Achilles on the back of your leg between your lower leg muscles and your heel. This injury can be minor requiring only home-care or more severe requiring surgery to repair the tendon.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Your plantar fascia runs on the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. This injury results in dull pain in your heel and the bottom of your foot that is caused by the tissue becoming inflamed. You will notice the pain most when you take your first few steps, climb stairs or are on your feet for long periods of time.
Physiotherapy help for runners
So with all of the possible injuries awaiting runners, what are you to do? Stop running all together to avoid the risk? This might all seem discouraging, but fear not; physiotherapists can help. Are you wondering what a physiotherapist actually does? They are health professions that specialize in injuries related to muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, and nerves. They are able to help you not only recover from an injury, but help you avoid getting injured in the future.
How do they help?
- Exercise Prescription – Physiotherapists will educate patients on best stretching and strengthening practices not only for your recovery, but for the future. Therapists work with you to help manage pain and also to correct faulty movement patterns to assist in reducing your chance of future injury. They help you to understand your body better to achieve a higher quality of health.
- Manual Therapy – Therapists provide hands on soft tissue mobilization and range of motion techniques to help reduce pain and stiffness. Manual therapy includes techniques such as deep tissue trigger and myofascial release.
- Taping and braces – Physiotherapists are able to assist runners with taping and brace support that can allow you to continue with activity and have added support.
- Shockwave Therapy – AKA Radial Shockwave Therapy. This treatment is used most often for ailments that typically involve where your tissue connects to your bone, but is not limited to just that. Shockwave therapy can be used for runner injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and muscle pain to name a few. Typically used for patients that have been suffering for a few months, the treatment speeds up the healing process by enhancing blood stimulation resulting in the regeneration of the damaged tissue and healing.
While there are many forms of self-care that you can apply at home to help heal your running injuries (like R.I.C.E.) there are times when it is in your best benefit for healing and preventative maintenance to seek the help of a professional. The experts at FIT Physiotherapy are ready to discuss the best treatments for your injuries and to train you in the best techniques for your future as a runner.