Common Running Injuries
By: Reza Ghannadan, MPT, BSc (Kin), Physiotherapist
I recently volunteered at the Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Vancouver Race Series 5k/10k in Stanley Park. Myself and a massage therapist were onsite to provide post-race treatment for runners.
What surprised me was how many runners required post-race treatment for common running injuries, to manage their pain and other symptoms. Several runners had never been to a physiotherapist before and were not aware as to the cause of their pain or how to manage it. This is where physiotherapy can help as demonstrated by the fact that the majority of runners achieved significant pain relief of their common running injury within a 5-7 minute treatment session.
Below is a list of common running injuries physiotherapy can address:
1. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (AKA outer thigh pain)
2. Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (AKA central knee pain)
3. Hamstring strain
4. Shin splints (AKA inner or outer shin pain)
5. Plantar Fasciitis
6. Achilles Tendinitis
In order to manage your common running injury, your physiotherapist will initially perform a thorough assessment in order to identify the structure(s) at fault. Then, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to address your specific needs.
Muscle imbalances are usually a key feature in the above injuries. Your physiotherapist may “release” or stretch tight muscles and strengthen weaker muscles in order to correct these imbalances. For example, in Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome, your physiotherapist may release your tight quadriceps and iliotibial band (outer thigh), and strengthen the gluteal muscles. This will help correct muscle imbalances and promote return-to-activity. Your physiotherapist may also incorporate other modalities to promote recovery, such as dry needling/acupuncture, taping, electrotherapy, and education regarding activities/positions to temporarily avoid.
Personally, I have successfully helped manage the above common running injuries in a variety of populations, whether sedentary, active and athletic. What I have learned is that every patient is different and thus requires an individualized treatment plan to achieve their fitness goals. Healing timelines will vary depending on how acute or chronic the injury is, your age, your activity levels, and your compliance with the treatment plan.
Bottom Line: Common running injuries are very common and the majority of runners may not be aware how to manage them. A physiotherapy assessment can help identify the cause of your pain and your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan to manage your injury and keep you active.
If you are experiencing any of the above injuries, physiotherapy can help. Please contact us at 604-987-5291.