This week I faced the runner's depressingly familiar nightmare: an injury. It wasn't that bad, but I'd like to take you through how it happened and what I did to resolve it. I'll do my best to point out what you can do when things like this happen to you.
Two weeks ago I was running on a trail down a creek canyon. As I started getting lost in thought evaluating how my running didn't feel quite as good as I wanted it to, I found myself twisting down towards the trail at my feet.
The joint-by-joint approach is a fabulous concept developed by Michael Boyle and Gray Cook, both highly regarded physical therapists. The core premise is very simple- each of the seven major joints have a primary need- mobility or stability. Even better, this need alternates from joint to joint as one goes up or down the body, making it pretty easy to remember. It also provides a simple and clear way to understand what is happening for runners when things are not going quite right.
Some readers may have seen this idea in practice before in my discussion of runner's knee and IT Band Pain Syndrome. Both issues often impact the knee while really originating from the hip. In addressing the hip in specific ways, those injuries can often be improved. This understanding helps show that pain or issues at one joint usually come from a neighboring joint's lack of mobility or stability.
Shin splints and tibial bone strains are the bane of many runners. As such, this injury has the distinction of being one of the five most common running injuries alongside plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinosis, IT Band Pain Syndrome, and runner's knee(PFPS). These and other common running injuries help make running a high risk injury sport,
So what is it and what can we do about it?
As readers of this blog now understand, the five most common running injuries are plantar fasciitis, runner's knee (PFPS), IT Band pain syndrome, Achilles tendinosis, and tibial strains (felt as shin splints). Today's focus is on Achilles tendinosis.
Achilles tendinosis is usually first observed as pain at the beginning or end of runs. As the injury worsens, the pain does as well and can expand to include the entire run. Fast running and uphill running can become particularly painful, as well as stairs or standing on your toes.
We'll go into what to do momentarily, but let's take a look at what is happening in greater detail first.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the five most common running injuries alongside PFPS (Runner's Knee), IT Band Pain Syndrome (ITBS), Achilles tendinosis and tibial bone strains (a class of injuries that includes shin splints among its symptoms). Because running is classified as a sport with high risk injury with some estimates saying up to 60% of runners get injured, chances are you or a runner you know has had at least one of these issues.
Today our focus is on plantar fasciitis, which like the other four are not a death sentence. All five are essentially overuse injuries that can be prevented with smart training, proper technique, and other good habits.
Running injuries are the plague of many runners. The sad truth for the sport of running is that it is classified as a high risk sport when it comes to injuries. The reality is that this is totally unnecessary — developing fitness, coordination, and technique together and correctly are very good at preventing major issues for most people. The five most common running injuries are runner's knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome), iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tibial bone strains, and Achilles tendinosis.
Today we shall focus on the second most common running injury: iliotibial band syndrome. The symptoms usually show up as pain on the outside of the knee and sometimes in the hip. It can include swelling near the knee and pain or tightness anywhere along the IT band. Much like PFPS (runner's knee), the issue isn't a knee injury- its something stressing the knee from elsewhere. Injuries to the knee itself are actually pretty rare for runners.
Runner's knee, or Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), is one of the five most common running injuries. The other four are: iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tibial bone strains, and Achilles tendinosis. According to some data, it is in fact the most common running injury. As such, it is one of the fastest routes for any and all interest or enthusiasm around running to come to an emphatic end.
This type of injury is pain under and around the knee cap. It is usually mild pain experienced during running only. If it continues it can become painful to walk and eventually become as serious as any other running injury. As always, I recommend that you stop running and go see a doctor if the condition becomes more painful.
But perhaps contrary to what many seem to think, this is usually a very manageable and preventable injury. So with that in mind, let's take a closer look at what runner's knee is and what we can do about it.
Runners face such an astonishingly high injury rate that running is classified as a high risk sport. I believe this is because everyone thinks they can run with little to no guidance from professionals. Unfortunately, the statistics are not in any runner's favor when it comes to such a belief.
What follows is a detailed injury prevention guide to begin to address this issue, taken from The Runner's Repair Manual, by Dr. Paul Weisenfield. The five most common running injuries are discussed and methods of evaluating, preventing, and addressing them are described. You can also learn more about these injuries here.
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