Whether you are a novice runner or a seasoned ultra-marathon runner, chances are that you have experienced nagging injuries during your running career. These injuries can hinder your training progress and become a deterrent, limiting your ability to do the activities that you love. While these injuries take a toll physically, they can also take a toll on you mentally because you may feel like you are doing your best to live a healthy active lifestyle and yet, injuries are still creeping up.
Overuse injuries are a common occurrence in the running community. Some common running-related injuries include:
· Achilles Tendinopathy
· Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)
· Patellar Tendonitis (Runner’s Knee)
· Plantar Fasciitis
· Stress fractures
What can I do to minimize my risk for developing injuries?
While no one method is fool proof, there are two main strategies to keep in mind while you are developing your running program: how quickly you progress distance, pace, frequency and following a targeted strength and conditioning program. The majority of running injuries come down to a load and muscular capacity discrepancy. In other words, the load (i.e. increased distance, increased pace, increased frequency etc.) exceeded the muscle’s capacity; thus, leading to pain and/or injury. It is important to increase distance and pace slowly over time. There are many free running programs that are widely available which help you properly progress your running distance, pace, and frequency over time.
Another way to help increase muscular capacity is by following a targeted strength and conditioning program which focuses on progressively overloading the lower extremity musculature. I am sure you have seen all over social media videos in which people describe an exercise that is going to “bulletproof” your joint or “best exercise for runners.” While we all wish it was that simple, it is not. The demands of your sport (running) should be of great emphasis in your training program. In addition to strength training activities, plyometrics should be a component of your training program to help properly prepare the musculature for running activities.
Can physical therapy help?
Absolutely, physical therapy can help treat injuries that occur as a result of running. As physical therapists, we have an extensive understanding of human anatomy and can target your individualized deficits (i.e. strength deficits, range of motion deficits, etc.). It is important to find a physical therapist who is adept to treating athletes and understands the demands of runners. A physical therapist can guide your training programs to help you get back to running, pain free!
Local to the Bucks County, PA area? Schedule a free discovery call with Ironphysio Sports Physical Therapy and Performance and let’s come up with an individualized plan for you!
*Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be used as medical advice. It is intended to provide the reader with education on the given topic. I highly advise contacting a healthcare provider to help guide your treatment program.
**As always, consult with a healthcare provider before beginning a new physical activity program