Common running injuries!
There are a couple of beauties out there that we see frequently in our running community. Most running injuries are born out of inadequate recovery planning and a ‘too much too soon’ approach. Runner’s knee, ITB syndrome and shin splints are the three injuries we will discuss today.
Runner’s knee or patellofemoral joint pain is typically described as knee pain around the patella (kneecap). It worsens with repetitive knee bending, stairs, hills and squatting. Whilst there is rarely any structural damage to the kneecap, the tissues under and surrounding the kneecap can become irritated, sometimes inflamed, and painful. As mentioned above, the most common cause of this injury is doing too much too soon, and pushing your body outside its comfort zone a fraction too much. Alongside overtraining, some factors that also impact this injury include low step rate (cadence), reduced pelvic control and poor shock absorbing strategies.
ITB syndrome is another incredibly common running injury. The ITB (iliotibial band) is a thick band of connective tissue extending from your lateral thigh down to your knee. Muscles attach to it and they assist the knee to flex. ITB pain is usually felt on the outside aspect of the knee joint, particularly when bending and straightening the knee. Quite often this knee pain will be evident at the start of a run, and may settle down during the run before increasing again once you have stopped moving and cooled down. In a similar fashion to PFJ pain, the structures under the ITB can become inflamed and irritated as the knee repetitively bends and straightens during a run. ITB syndrome can be provoked by running with a very narrow stance and having reduced lateral gluteal muscle control.
Finally, shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) are an incredibly common complaint among the running community. Shin splints are described as pain along the inner aspect of the lower leg, just inside the shin bone (tibia). They commonly worsen with impact activity such as running, hopping and jumping. Shin splints, while sounding scary, is simply an irritation of the soft tissues connecting the lower leg muscles to the tibia. Although painful, shin splints can be managed with the appropriate loading plan (think strength, recovery AND running) and running assessment to look at movement patterns.
How do we fix it?
Whilst all presentations are different between people, the above three running injuries can all be well managed with a physiotherapist to guide you. The biggest mistake we see people make is to ignore their pain and keep running, to the point that they can no longer run. By working with a physiotherapist; muscle strength, movement control and running styles can be assessed and modified to reduce pain. A physiotherapist will be able to provide exercises to assist with leg strength and control to ensure you are back running smoothly before long. Our aim is to have you running pain and injury free as quickly as possible!