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Posted on 08-24-2014

With the start or restart of any exercise routine, the chance of discomfort and injury is also associated. Running is an activity that requires repetitive stress to the muscles and joints of our body.  Although the benefits far outweigh any risk of injury, there are several running specific conditions that you can prevent with some awareness.

  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome - The IT band is a thick, fibrous band that runs down the outside of your leg from hip to shin.  The IT band contributes stability to the knee joint and when imbalances or repetitive running stress persists, this band can become inflamed. To help prevent ITBS you should make sure to stretch your lower extremity pre and post activity and make sure not to ‘over-stride’ while running. If you feel discomfort in the IT Band, try using a foam roller.  This can help stretch the tissue on the outside of the leg and help balance the soft tissue of the leg, reducing pressure on the knee and hip.
  • Patellofemoral Syndrome – Known as “Runner’s Knee” comes from problems with the patella (knee cap). The term runner’s knee could be used to describe several conditions like condromalacia patella, patellar tendinitis, or generalized knee pain. To alleviate discomfort under or around the patella use ice and give the knee a rest and remember to stretch the quadriceps muscles. If the problem persists or is keeping you from activity seek advice from a health care professional who understands running conditions.
  • Shin Splints – Similar to runner’s knee, shin splints describes a handful of symptoms and not an actual ‘diagnosis’.  Shin splints can be a problem of the muscle, bone, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone. Repetitive force from your foot striking the pavement is often the culprit though it could be more complicated.  Proper fitting shoes are your first start.  There are also several products on the market that do a fair job of preventing and alleviating the discomfort.  Light-elastic kinesiology tape (ProForm recommends Rock Tape) offers the general public taping solutions that were once allocated only to health professionals. You can find these products on the web or at local sporting good stores.
  • Achilles Tendonitis – Irritation or inflammation to the large tendon at the back of the ankle. This has two primary causes; lack of flexibility, and improper running motion. Often the tendonitis is caused by adhesions in the soleus and calf muscles, which combine to form the Achilles tendon. Self-treatment includes the RICE method along with specific stretching of the calf muscles. 
  • Plantar Fascitis – Pain in the bottom of the foot due to tension on the tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot.  Plantar Fascitis is caused by achilles tendon tightness, long-distance running, and arch problems. Self-treatment should include arch support, rest, and a stretching regimen using a lacrosse ball rolled along on the bottom of the foot. 

A general stretching, warm-up, cross training, and recovery routine will ease the repetitive stresses running places on the body and will allow you to enjoy spring and summer exercise pain free.  For more information on any of these conditions, please contact American Chiropractic and set up a consultation with a doctor.  We are happy to answer any questions to keep you injury free towards your performance goals!  

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