As the weather becomes nicer, the runners are coming out of their houses to rack up miles, de-stress, and train for longer races. Even a jogging hobby, however, can result in numerous injuries if proper preventative care isn’t taken.
Running injuries are typically classified as “overuse” or misuse injuries. There are many different factors regarding high-impact running that might be causing your joints some trouble. We caught up with Core’s very own Dr. Raymond Metz Jr., MD (a running hobbyist himself) to get some of our patient’s often-asked questions answered. In addition, in the video below, Dr. Metz discusses what you can do to prevent injury and stay healthy while running.
There are a number of other reasons your legs might be affected by running such as:
“I recommend seeing a physician about any injury that lasts longer than a week or if any of the red flags are present,” says Dr. Metz.
If your running injury isn’t showing any sign of improving after using some basic first aid techniques at home, it might be time to come in.
“I recommend drinking water before, during, and after running. Most people will never burn enough calories or sweat enough to truly need a high-calorie sports drink. Those drinks are loaded with extra sugar that people don’t need,” says Dr. Metz. “Water is all that is needed up to an hour of vigorous exercise. After an hour, it’s ok to start working in some electrolytes and carbs.”
Dr. Metz also recommends:
Symptoms: Pain and local tenderness beginning at the heel and radiating to arch, heel pain with the first step of the day, sore at the beginning of a run that decreases during a run.
Causes: High arches or flat feet, tight calf muscles, improper shoe wear, over or under pronation, strength imbalances, leg length discrepancy.
Solution: Ice massage after running, have shoes evaluated, orthotics, stretching calf muscles, night splint in extreme cases, Astym® or Graston®, Dry Needling.
Symptoms: Soreness along inside or outside of shin/tibia, pain at the beginning of a run that decreases during a run, soreness afterward.
Causes: Overpronation, running in old shoes, running on concrete or asphalt, training errors, poor hip/core strength.
Solution: Adjustment to running form, strengthening exercises for hip and lower leg muscles, correct overpronation, replace old shoes, run on softer surfaces, Astym®, Graston®, Dry Needling.
Symptoms: Pain with possible swelling, heat, and redness over the tendon, stiff and painful after running/activity, calf muscles may feel tight.
Causes: Tight calf muscles, running steep hills, increasing mileage too quickly, improper shoe fit, general overuse, poor hip/core strength.
Solution: Decrease mileage, ice, calf stretching, shoes with shock-absorbing features, calf strengthening.
Symptoms: Sharp or irritating pain along the outside of the knee, better at the beginning of run but becomes progressively worse, pain often makes you stop running.
Causes: Tight or weak hip musculature, bowed legs, overpronation, leg length discrepancy, hard downhill running, excessive speed work, running on banked surfaces, crossover gait pattern.
Solutions: Rest, stretching, ice, run on soft surfaces, shoes with ample heel support and rearfoot cushioning, strengthening to correct muscle imbalances, adjustment to running form, Astym®, Graston®, Dry Needling.
Symptoms: Deep, dull ache under the kneecap, worse when ascending/ descending stairs, worse with downhill running, stiffness after prolonged sitting with the knee bent.
Causes: Direct traumatic injury, imbalance of quadricep muscle strength leading to improper tracking of the patella in the trochlear groove, poor flexibility, poor core strength, overuse, excessive pronation, weak hip musculature.
Solutions: Ice, correct muscle imbalance, taping of the patella (knee cap) to assist with tracking, stretching.
Physical/Occupational Therapists are the movement experts who treat people of all ages and abilities, helping them improve and maintain function and quality of life. Individual treatment plans are created to work towards and achieve the patient’s goals to improve their mobility, function, fitness, sports performance, recover from surgery, minimize the need for surgery, or decrease pharmaceutical use.
While opioid painkillers do mask pain, they don’t solve the root of the problem. The CDC does not recommend painkillers be the first course of action.
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