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5 Common Runners injuries and how to avoid them

Runners Knee

Runner’s Knee, also known as Patellofemoral syndrome is the misalignment of the knee bone (the patella) causing it to track outside of its normal pathway through the tendon that runs across the knee joint, resulting in pain.

Symptoms of Runner’s Knee include pain below and behind the kneecap, usually worsening with bending of the knee. Pain tends to worsen with increased exercise and use. It can be diagnosed through hands-on assessment by a physical or manual therapist.

Runner’s Knee is an overuse injury that affects about 30% of female runners and 25% of male runners. It is caused by overuse of the knees and weakness of the muscles of the hips and thighs. It is more common in women due to their wider pelvis as well as in people who are flat

footed.

Treatment for runner's knee is a 2-step process. Firstly, some form of manual therapy, such as massage, osteopathy, or physiotherapy should be applied in order to realign the hips, knees, and ankles in order to restore normal tracking of the patella. Secondly, a stretch and exercise

plan should be followed in order to maintain balance in the muscular tension feeding into the knee joint. Stretches and exercises should be focused on developing strength and elasticity in the quads, gluts, adductors, and hip flexors. You can consult with your healthcare provider to

determine the right exercise and stretch program for your specific pattern.

Shin Splints

Shin Splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a common overuse injury affecting the lower leg. It is painful along the inner edge of the shin bone due to inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue in the area.

Symptoms of shin splints include: pain, tenderness, and swelling in the lower leg which can worsen with physical activity. It is typically caused by overuse or repetitive strain on the lower leg that could be from, running, jumping, or other high impact activities.

To prevent shin splints, it is important to gradually increase the frequency and intensity of physical activity, wear appropriate footwear, avoid running on slopes or uneven terrain, and maintain proper form during exercise.

Treatment for shin splints starts with rest. Because this condition is predominantly caused by overuse, it requires rest in order to heal. After a rest period of up to several weeks, you may start reintroducing low impact exercises such as swimming or biking, followed by walking and

then running. It is also beneficial to treat the inflammation of the tissues. This can be achieved in several different ways including icing the area, taking an anti-inflammatory medication, or using more natural methods such as laser therapy, massage therapy, or osteopathic lymphatic drainage. In severe cases that do not resolve on their own, it is necessary to consult a manual therapist such as an osteopathic practitioner or RMT for a full treatment plan.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the toes. This inflammation can cause pain and discomfort in the heel and arch of the foot, and can be

aggravated by activities like running, jumping, or standing for long periods of time.

Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include sharp pain in the heel, or arch of the foot, particularly when standing or walking, as well as stiffness and tenderness in the affected areas. This condition, like the others, is often caused by overuse or repetitive strain, such as standing

or walking for extended periods of time, wearing shoes with inadequate support, or participating in high-impact activities like running or jumping. Poor posture may also increase the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis as it increases strain down the back of the leg and into the foot as the body fights to stay upright against the additional gravitational pull that accompanies poor posture.

To prevent plantar fasciitis, it is important to maintain good posture, wear properly fitted shoes with good arch support, stretch the calves, hamstrings, and glut muscles regularly, especially before long periods of standing or exercise and avoid overexertion. Treatment options for plantar fasciitis vary based on the severity of pain. For mild cases, proper stretching of the posterior muscles of the lower leg and foot, combined with rest can be sufficient to resolve the problem. In more severe cases, consulting a healthcare professional such as an Osteopathic Practitioner or RMT can help you determine the best course of action in order to relieve the discomfort and pain through physical therapy. Treatment plans from a healthcare provider may consist of a combination of a stretch and exercise program, manual therapy to

stretch and relax the muscles and connective tissue of the foot, structural realignment of the body to improve posture and restore proper loading into the ankle and foot, reducing tension on the aggravated area, lymphatic drainage techniques to reduce inflammation, and bioflex laser therapy to promote tissue healing at the cellular level and decrease pain and inflammation.

IT Band Syndrome

IT Band syndrome is a common condition that affects runners and other athletes, it accounts for about 12% of all running-related injuries. The IT band, short for ilio-tibial band, is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the hip to the knee and can become inflamed or irritated due to overuse, injury, or misalignment of the pelvis, back, hip, or knee.

Symptoms of IT band syndrome include: pain and tenderness along the outside of the hip, thigh, and knee, that may be accompanied by swelling, and/or a clicking or popping sensation in the knee. Pain tends to increase with exercise and improve with rest. IT Band syndrome can be assessed and diagnosed by a manual therapist through motion testing of the hip, leg, and knee.

The causes of IT band syndrome are often related to either misalignment, overuse, and/or improper training techniques such as a lack of warm-up and stretching, increasing distance too quickly, running downhill, or wearing improper footwear. Preventative measures that can be

taken in order to avoid IT band syndrome include proper warm-up and stretching, strength training as well as gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of activities. It is also important to maintain proper body alignment between the back, hips, knees, and ankles to avoid

any abnormal lines of force through the band.

Treatment for IT Band Syndrome involves working with a manual and/or physical therapist to restore proper alignment in the back, hips and knees, reduce tension through the ilio-tibial band, reduce inflammation in the leg, and promote tissue healing. Use of bioflex laser therapy is also beneficial in order to promote tissue healing of the IT band and reduce pain.

Sprained Ankles

A sprained ankle is an incredibly common injury in runners, it can occur when ligaments in the ankle which support the joint by connecting the lower leg and foot together are stretched or torn beyond their normal range of motion.

Causes of sprained ankles include twisting or rolling the ankle, landing awkwardly after a jump, stepping on an uneven surface, or enduring a blow to the ankle from the inside or outside. People with poor muscle tone in the lower leg, as well as misalignment of the tibia (aka shin

bone) or fibula, the other smaller bone in the lower leg, relative to the ankle joint are more susceptible to sprains.

Sprains can occur in varying degrees; first degree sprains involve minimal damage to the tissue and can be treated at home with rest, ice, and elevation, recovery usually occurs within a week or so. Second degree sprains involve damage to 1 or more ligaments in the area and are

generally accompanied by swelling and bruising, it may require attention from a health care professional and may take up to 6 weeks for recovery. A third degree sprain occurs when one or more ligaments have completely torn. This type of sprain is generally accompanied by a

popping sound and is extremely painful. There will be swelling, bruising, and difficulty or inability to weight-bear. It will require assessment and treatment by a physician, generally including a cast or brace, and sometimes even surgery. It will also require physical therapy to restore

strength and stability to the site of injury and return to normal function.

To prevent sprained ankles, it is important to wear proper footwear, and to properly stretch and warm up prior to any physical activity. It is also important to establish proper alignment of the leg and ankle and maintain good muscle tone around the ankle in order to promote strength and stability.

If you believe you are suffering from one of these common running conditions, or you would like to have a structural assessment done to ensure optimal postural alignment and stability and prevent future injury, call 705 887 1795 to book an appointment with one of our healthcare

professionals or book online through our online booking portal.

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