I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this series about the most common injuries with running. I know firsthand how pain can keep you from doing the activities you enjoy, particularly with running injuries. Most of the common running injuries ultimately are due to muscle weakness or imbalances and also running mechanics. In order to be completely painfree and continue running, it is best to address the root cause for your pain and stop running injuries early rather than trying to work through them. Try some of the tips below on ways to stop pain with running and resolve your running injuries.
Knee Pain (Patellofemoral Pain): Experiencing knee pain located in the front, center of the knee is one of the most common running injuries. Often times, the patella (knee cap) does not move as it should based on imbalances between muscular strength and tightness and this can lead to knee pain. When experiencing these symptoms, begin icing after a run to decrease pain and inflammation.
Avoid running downhill during your runs to decrease the load on the knee. Most people find that running uphill helps relieve their knee pain partially because it relies more on the glutes and also shortens your step length. That in turn decreases joint forces at the knee which will help decrease pain. Obviously you can't spend all your time running uphill (I know you're super bummed about that!) so a short-term fix for knee pain is using kinesiotape to promote improved patellar tracking. Check out our youtube video on how to use it properly on the knee. Long term, it is best to address the mechanical impairments and muscle imbalances. We will cover the long term solutions in Part 3.
Plantar Fasciitis: This injury is often times due to poor support of the foot so it’s important to make sure you have a well-fitting pair of shoes that feel comfortable to you. Also, make sure that your shoes are not too old and/or have too many miles on them. Runners World suggests putting 300-500 miles on your running shoes but I would also like to add that after about 6 months, the foam in your shoes begins to break down, regardless of mileage, and will not give as much cushioning. For all of you that rotate running shoes or buy 3 pairs of the same shoe and save them, you could be getting breakdown in the shoe without even wearing it.
When you are feeling pain in your arches or at your heel, try rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle to decrease pain and inflammation. It’s also important to stretch the calves and also your plantar fascia. You can stretch the plantar fascia pulling the toes back in order to tighten the fascia. Massaging the fascia is also a great idea to loosen it up. And like many of these injuries, it is best to decrease the amount of running and take some rest in order to let it heal and resolve it quicker.
Shin Splints: This can be a tricky injury to resolve and it’s best to take a break from running when they first appear. Shin splints are most commonly caused by increasing mileage too quickly so start slow! If you are already experiencing these, ice the shins to decrease inflammation. Having well-fitting shoes with adequate cushioning can also help. Shin splints often stem from mechanical faults with your running form so having a slow motion analysis performed will help identify the faults and give you long term solutions for ending shin splints.
IT Band Syndrome: Pain on the outside of the knee is often times due to irritation from the ITB. The main cause of this injury is due to hip weakness and poor alignment during running. We will talk about a more long-term solution in the next series, utilizing exercises to strengthen the hip musculature, but short term, foam rolling along the ITB will help decrease pain and tightness. Do this by lying on your side with the foam roller at the top of your hip. Roll down towards your knee.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series where I will talk more about the long term solutions for stopping your running injuries and how to prevent these injuries from returning once you are pain free. Having a slow motion running analysis completed is a great way to address your specific issues and resolve them so I would HIGHLY recommend it. If you want to have your running injuries resolved, contact us to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation.