Running for exercise is a great way to maintain health. However, overuse injuries can often occur if you have started a running routine without adequate conditioning. There are 4 stages of an overuse injury:
- Discomfort that disappears during warm up.
- Discomfort that may disappear during warm up but reappears at the end of activity.
- Discomfort that worsens with activity.
- Constant pain or discomfort.
In regards to running, a few common overuse injuries include:
- As suggested by the name, runner’s knee is knee pain that is commonly experienced by runners. It is not a specific condition, rather it can be the result of one of many conditions. In most cases, knee pain associated with running is an overuse type injury, rather than an acute injury.
- Pain felt at the front of the knee that is commonly seen in runners can be caused by any one of the following conditions:
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Chondromalacia patella
- Patella tendinopathy
- Knee bursitis
- Fat pad impingement
- Due to the fact that runner’s knee is not a specific diagnosis, but rather a result of one of many possible conditions, it is best to have your knee pain assessed by your physiotherapist.
- Shin splints cause dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along either side of the shin bone or in the muscles.
- The most common cause is overuse or overtraining associated with poor foot and leg biomechanics. Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors which are mainly biomechanical (abnormal movement patterns) and errors in training.
- The Achilles tendon is the large tendon found on the back of the ankle. This tendon connects the leg muscles to the foot and enables you to push off while walking and running.
- Tendinopathy is a non-inflammatory degenerative change that can occur in tendons as a result of overuse when it is unable to adapt to the strain being placed on it. This weakens the tendon which makes it prone to further injury, resulting in a viscous cycle.
- The most common symptoms include morning stiffness around the tendon that eases after a few minutes of walking; tenderness over the Achilles tendon; variable pain where the pain settles with exercise, but increases again with rest.
- Common training errors can include running at too high an intensity, increasing distance too soon, lack of variation in training, poor quality footwear, too much hill running.
By planning and taking a few precautions, running injuries can be easily prevented. Do not ignore pain; a bit of soreness is ok. But if you notice a persistent pain in a muscle or joint that doesn’t improve with rest, come in to see us at Body Active Physiotherapy and we can assesses, diagnose, and provide you with a treatment plan that will get you back to running shape.