Don’t Let A Running Injury Put You On The Sidelines – Advice From A Louisville Orthopedic

runners starting a raceMaybe you are running for a cross country team or are training for one of the fall running races coming up in Louisville, Kentucky. You might just be a casual weekend jogger who likes spending time outside in one of Louisville’s beautiful parks, enjoying the benefits of a three mile run once or twice a week. Whether you are a competitive runner, or someone who avoids the races and prefers running for casual exercise, chances are at one time or another you have experienced a running injury.

Suffering from a running injury is not fun.  It is especially difficult if you are a competitive runner or if running is your preferred exercise activity.  While there are a range of injuries you might be experiencing, and it is best to seek out medical advice about a running injury from a qualified orthopedic doctor, here is an overview of three common running injuries that we see at our Louisville orthopedic office.

Plantar Fasciitis

Sometimes a running injury does not involve the legs or hips but is instead concentrated in the feet. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia which is located on the foot and spans from the toes to the heal bone or calcaneus. This thick tissue can get inflamed due to ongoing activity.  Pain from plantar fasciitis is often most severe first thing in the morning when you get out of bed.  It is an intense stabbing type of pain that decreases as the foot becomes stretched.

Treatment for this common running injury focuses on stretching. Special stretches should be done several times a day, and most importantly, first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.  In more extreme cases, a night splint is sometimes recommended to help keep the plantar fascia stretched out during the night.  Cortisone injections are sometimes recommended to help alleviate pain.

Shin Splints

Also known as medial tibial periostitis, many runners have experienced the sharp pain of shin splints.  Discomfort from shin splints typically starts while running but as the condition progresses, pain from shin splints can even begin while walking.

If you are training for a longer distance race and you increase your mileage too quickly, it is not uncommon to experience shin splints.  You may also notice them if you change the surface of your runs to include more time on harder surfaces like concrete.

Shin splints tend to be more common for people who pronate or have flat feet.  Shin splints are best treated with a good stretching routine that a physical therapist may recommend.  Shoe inserts like orthotics are also often recommended.  Plenty of ice, cross training with activities like biking or swimming, and running on softer surfaces may be beneficial as well.

IT Band Tendinitis

If you are suffering from pain in your Illiotibial band or IT band, you will notice it on the outside of your knee. IT band pain tends to be irritating and sharp and it increases in intensity while you run.

Treating IT Band Tendonitis often involves a combination of ice, physical therapy, and cross training.  Sometimes Orthopaedic Specialists recommends cortisone injections.  In severe cases, your orthopedic doctor may recommend an MRI to rule out the possibility that you have a meniscal tear.  In order to treat IT Band Tendonitis, you need to commit to a thorough stretching routine to reduce the risk of inflammation.   If you tend to pronate while running, you may also benefit from orthotics with arch support.

If you are suffering from a running injury, it can feel like it takes forever to get over the pain.  It is important to remember that your running injury is likely caused by overuse.  It is smart for you to consider cross training and trying some other physical activities that do not agitate your current running injury.

Inflammation is often at the heart of a running injury and finding ways to successfully control this inflammation is very important.  Ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, massage, and stretching may all be a part of your effort to reduce inflammation from a running injury.

Finally, don’t forget that pain is your first warning.  When you experience a running injury and feel the initial pain, listen to your body and seek qualified medical advice and treatment.  One small running injury can often develop into something much more serious if it is ignored and not treated early.  Whether you are suffering from shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or some other running injury, taking the proper course of action to treat the running injury is the first step in getting yourself back on track for more happy and healthy injury-free running.

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