5 Common Running Injuries

5 Common Running Injuries Athletes get weeks out from a Marathon

  • Achilles Tendon Pain
  • Plantar Heel Pain
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Runner’s Knee
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Running is an easy and enjoyable form of exercise so it is no surprise that so many people like to run as part of their fitness regime.Unfortunately, running injuries are very common with up to 70% of runners experiencing an injury in some form every year. In the months and weeks leading up to a marathon training loads increase and injuries tend to rear their ugly heads!

The main reason for such a high incidence of running injury is that most people tend to train for a marathon without much of a plan in terms of volume, intensity or recovery. While running is one of the easier forms of exercise, many of us forget that it is actually quite a demanding activity. Letting injuries drag on and on can be debilitating which in turn affects our activity levels and training.

So what are the 5 most common types of running injury?

1. Achilles Tendon Pain

People suffering with Achilles pain will usually notice:

  • A sharp pain in the morning when taking the first few steps out of bed.
  • Pain initially at the start of a run with many experiencing no pain during the run only for the pain to increase within the next 24 hours.
  • It may feel better with some rest only for the pain to return when returning to training.

Usually the cause of the pain is due to inflammation as the athlete has done too much too soon in terms of loading of the tendon itself. The Achilles tendon is one of the most commonly injured areas in middle and long-distance runners and is most prevalent among middle aged runners who also have office jobs. Initially a period of rest will help in the acute stage to help the pain and inflammation settle down. How much rest depends on how severe and how long the Achilles has been painful.

How can Physiotherapy help my Achilles Pain?

Physiotherapy can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of your Achilles Tendon pain by guiding you in regards to much you need to rest, individualised treatment plan and rehabilitation exercises. Therefore we take a holistic approach to ensure you return to running pain free and more robust so the injury does not return.

We can do this via a variety of techniques such as:

  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Individualised rehabilitation exercises
  • Soft tissue & Manual Therapy
  • Advice on correct training practices

2. Plantar Fasciitis – A pain in the foot!

You may be experiencing pain underneath the heel with the first few steps in the morning, after sitting for a while or at the start of a run. If this is the case you most lively have plantar fasciitis. It can also be noticeable and sore when in flat shoes and pain may be eased when in shoes with a higher heel.

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia tendon located underneath your foot, close to the heel. It is a dense and rigid collagen tissue that helps create stiffness in the foot when running. The pain and inflammation occurs due to micro tears in the fascia. Unfortunately it does not get a chance to heal as it is always being stressed during walking and running. Some factors that are involved include weak foot muscles, tight calves, poor bio mechanics and a high body mass index.  You can read more about Plantar Fasciitis by clicking here.

How can Physiotherapy help my Foot Pain?

  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Individualised Rehabilitation exercises for the foot and leg.
  • Managing rest and progressive return to running program.
  • Taping to provide support for the foot

 3. Hamstring Injury

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common soft tissue/muscle running injuries. Many runners experience pain higher up in the hamstring tendon itself close to the sit bone. It can be worse sitting directly on the tendon for long periods and bringing the knee close to the chest to try stretch the hamstring. This is not a good idea as it will aggravate the tendon. Clinically we see that many runners actually overload the hamstrings due to a decreased ability to extend the hip via the Gluteal muscles.

How can Physiotherapy help my Hamstring Strain?

Very specific exercises are required to heal the hamstring and tendon. We do this with a rehab plan so you don’t aggravate the tendon while strengthening it. Prevention is better than cure so we want to ensure that your hamstrings are as strong as possible to give you the best chance of avoiding re-injury.

This is done via a variety of techniques such as:

  • Manual and Soft tissue therapy
  • Dry Needling (read more here)
  • Rehabilitation & Strength Exercises.
  • Implementing good Warm-up strategies

4. Knee pain (Runner’s Knee)

You may be experiencing pain in and around the kneecap or the tissues surrounding the knee. This may get progressively worse when running, going up/down stairs or sitting for long periods. We often see clients in clinic where they struggle to identify the injury cause or specific location of their knee pain.Typically it affects middle-aged runners with poor hip strength and control. Weakness and tightness in the legs and hips will cause the patella to track outside the knee causing pain and inflammation.

How can Physiotherapy help my Knee Pain?

  • Pain management.
  • Reduce pain & Relieve tight areas via Soft Tissue Therapy
  • Bio mechanical Assessment – Movement Patterns
  • Reduce excessive knee force via Strength and Neuromuscular control

5. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

If you are experiencing a tight, sharp pain on the outside of your knee, you are likely to be dealing with ITBS. The band is a strong fascia tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the outside of the knee. It works to help stabilise the knee during running. Due to over training and poor ankle and hip control the ITB becomes tight. In turn, the outside of the knee becomes irritated, causing pain. It’s also important that you have the ability to decelerate when you land (foot hits the floor).

How can Physiotherapy help my ITBS?

  • We help to strengthen the hip and leg muscles
  • We address any previous injuries
  • Correct poor Bio mechanics
  • Soft Tissue Therapy
  • Shockwave Therapy

We look at the whole system including previous injuries to get to the cause of your injury. We have helped people get back to what they love to do where traditional Physiotherapy has failed them. Our aim is to reduce pain, restore normal function and get you back running better than before.

Kula Health