Overcoming Running Injuries
Posted on 5/12/2021
“Am I Injured?”
This is a question I get asked by many runners.
“How do I know if I’m injured and not just sore from running/training?”
Short of a physical examination, this is what I tell them...
There is good pain and bad pain. Good pain stops when you stop. It is generally mild, diffuses and doesn’t affect quality of movement. Bad pain does not stop when you stop. It can get worse during or after activity. It can be sharp in nature, and significant enough to force you to change your gait whether you realize it or not.
If you have rested or taken time off from running, and the pain has decreased or gone away only to return when you start running again, there is most likely some underlying issue that needs to be addressed. There could be an issue with muscle imbalances, running form, footwear, training schedule, joint mechanics or any combination of these.
If you are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) daily or after every run for pain, you may have an overuse injury. Overuse injuries account for the majority of running injuries. They occur when a tissue is loaded beyond its threshold. In bone, this can result in a stress fracture. In tendon, this usually manifests as tendonitis or tendinosis. Excessive stress to a ligament can result in a sprain.
Overuse is relative and not always obvious. It can be a result of “too much, too soon” with regard to training or mileage. It can also be due to cumulative stress from non-running activities and/or compensation. When a structure takes on additional stress to unload another, it can break down.
How can physical therapy help? A thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify the underlying problem so that you’re not just treating symptoms.
A progressive loading program can assist the injured tissue regain the strength needed to resume running and training. Hands-on therapy can also help restore normal joint mechanics so that muscles are functioning more efficiently and inert structures are not unnecessarily stressed.
Physical therapy can you build strength, endurance and minimize running injuries, so you can achieve your personal best.
By: Martine Marino, MPT, COMT. Martine is a physical therapist and the center manager for NovaCare Rehabilitation in Bethel Park, PA.
NovaCare and SSM Health Physical Therapy are part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.