Running is one of the most popular forms of fitness, with Spring upon us and this weekend seeing the London Marathon it is the mostly likely time to see running injuries for both amateurs and professionals alike.
Despite the risk factors, running has many positive aspects and is a great way to get fit. Running:
- Improves circulatory & cardio-vascular fitness
- Lifts mood
- Enhances muscle tone
However, if carried out incorrectly, running can place a large degree of strain on the body. Pain, is typically related to poor flexibility, inadequate footwear, reduced mobility and imbalanced strength.
All of these factors will add to injury load and push your body to it’s limit and prolong any positive outcomes associated with running.
Overuse injuries can occur if you are hypo-mobile (too little flexibility) or hyper-mobile (too much flexibility) or if you have flat feet, fallen arches or there is a difference in leg length.
Whether you are an inexperienced or hardened runner you can fall pray to a myriad of problems from shin splints, hamstring tears, strains, sacroiliac imbalance (hip/pelvis), back pain and runners knee, as well as four of some the most common injuries:
- Achilles Tendonitis occurs when there is too much tension on the large tendon (Achilles) that attaches the calf muscle (gastrocnemius) to the heel (soleus) causing intermittent or constant pain in the calf muscle which can become tight from overuse, poor stretching and inadequate footwear. Ice can reduce the inflammation whilst stretching can reduce the tension.
- Ilio-Tibial injury or ITB is associated with overuse. It refers to the outside of the leg, a long stretch of connective tissue (fascia) running from the gluteal muscles (buttock) down along the outside of the thigh (quad) to the knee, this band can become painful and tight. Stretching will help reduce the pressure and tension.
- Plantar Fasciitis – inflamed condition of the connective tissue (fascia) on the sole of the foot, presenting itself as a sharp stabbing pain or deep ache in the arch of the foot or in the middle of the heel. Pain is often worse first thing in the morning.
- Patellofemoral pain (knee pain) stemming from the joint between the patella and the end of the femur, pain is felt over the front of the knee.
Osteopaths can help with all of these injuries, helping to identify the original cause and any further risk factors.
Our osteopaths will carry out a musculoskeletal, foot and gait assessment of your body, in order to assess correctly they may need to stretch the injury to pinpoint its source.The injury may be treated with a combination of soft tissue treatment: myofascial release; craniosacral therapy; visceral manipulation and muscle energy technique.
With any injury it is important to stop when you feel any discomfort, no matter how small or niggling, it should be seen as a warning sign that something is out of balance, and can lead to much more serious issues if not addressed.
Where possible, rest, apply ice and hopefully you will be able to heal. However, if you find your body has been taken to it’s limit, we can advise and treat you so you can get back to your training and enjoy the positive benefits of running again.