With the (slow) return of the sun comes the return of outdoor activity into our daily lives. If you took a break from regular exercise during the winter, you might be more susceptible to injury. Here are some of the most common running injuries we see here at Active Living Chiropractic, along with steps you can take to limit those injuries to stay healthy this spring.
1. Plantar fasciitis- This is when the fascia on the bottom of the foot becomes tight, causing sharp, knife-like pain when the foot is stretched. The most common symptom is pain near the mid foot or heel. Pain is the worst with the first few steps out of bed, and then subsides as the day progresses. Try stretching your calf muscles to take pressure off the achilles tendon, as well as rolling the bottoms of your feet with a tennis or lacrosse ball for 4-5 minutes per day.
2. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB Syndrome)- This injury is very common in runners, especially those who perform hill running on a regular basis. This injury occurs when the IT band, the ligament running from your hip to your knee, becomes tight and inflamed. The most common symptom is pain on the outside of your knee, made worse with downhill running or an increase in mileage. The best method of home treatment is to use a foam roller. Focus on releasing the top of your hip, your quadricep muscles, as well as your hamstrings. Roll the side of your leg from the hip to the knee following the tract of the ITB.
3. Runner’s knee (Patellar femoral pain syndrome)- This type of injury is most common in young athletes but also more often in women due to the natural shape of their hips. Runner’s knee occurs when the balance between the strength of hamstrings and quadriceps becomes unbalanced, and the knee cap starts to get pulled in a different direction than where it is supposed to sit. Symptoms of runner’s knee include tenderness behind or on top of the kneecap, pain behind the knee and even a feeling that the knee may give out while running. Pain is often made worse with stairs, hills or running on uneven surfaces. The key to decreasing the symptoms is to restore the muscular balance by stretching the hamstrings and strengthening the quadriceps. Also, wearing the correct shoes and possibly custom orthotics could alleviate your pain for good as well as prevent other injuries down the line.
As all of these conditions can quickly progress, it is important to monitor your symptoms and pain levels, keeping in mind if they fail to improve or even if they worsen. If you find you are going backwards, schedule an appointment with our clinical team to perform a full evaluation and talk with you about your treatment options.
-Dr. Ajay Iselin