The 4 Most Common Running Injuries
During the summer months, running is an activity that picks up in popularity. It’s a great way to boost cardiovascular health. However, it can also place a lot of stress on the musculoskeletal structure of your body.
Your chiropractor often sees improper footwear and over-training as common causes for running injuries, along with misalignment in the hips and pelvis. If you think you’ve incurred one of the injuries described below, consult your chiropractor. You may need to suspend or reduce your running routine until the problem is healed. You can help lessen pain and inflammation of these injuries by applying ice to the affected areas for ten minutes every two hours.
Here are the most common problems associated with running:
Plantar fasciitis is a repetitive strain of the plantar fascia that leads to painful inflammation of this tissue located at the bottom of your feet. The pain is typically worse in the morning, and then tends to ease as the day goes on.
What causes it? Running puts an increased mechanical load on the arch of your foot. If your arch is not properly positioned, or your muscles leading to the foot are too tight, you may be adding abnormal stress.
What can you do? Besides ice therapy and adjusting your running routine, treatments may also include myofascial stripping techniques applied to the bottom of your feet. If your chiropractor identifies over-pronation (fallen arches) as the problem, he or she may suggest custom orthotics to reduce the mechanical stress. Stretching your calf muscles regularly may help prevent this problem from recurring.
Shin splints are pain or tenderness along the front of the shin where your tibialis muscles attach to your lower leg. The pain is usually sharp when you’re running and often feels achy while you’re at rest.
What causes it? Tendons of the tibialis muscles wrap around the arch of your foot, helping to support it. When the arches experience excessive loads, these tendons are placed under strain. When this happens, your muscles pull away from their attachments to the shin bone. Improper shoes, running on hard surfaces and over-pronation of the feet may aggravate this condition.
What can you do? Avoid running on concrete surfaces. Have your chiropractor check the mobility and alignment of the bones in your feet and ankles. If over-pronation is detected, you may need custom orthotics. Once your pain is reduced, regular stretching of the muscles in your lower legs can help stop future problems.
Runner’s knee (chondromalacia patella) is pain felt under the kneecap, accompanied by a grinding or popping noise when bending the knee. You may also notice swelling and redness.
What causes it? Improper positioning of the patella over the knee joint. This triggers your kneecap to excessively rub against the surface of your leg bones, leading to repetitive wear and tear of the cartilage and recurring inflammation. Improper knee alignment is commonly caused by instability of the feet or pelvis. Tightness or imbalance in the quadriceps muscles may also cause symptoms.
What can you do? Stop running and get chiropractic advice. Have your chiropractor check the alignment of your feet and pelvis. Misalignment in the feet may require orthotics and imbalance in the pelvis may be helped with chiropractic adjustments. When pain subsides, you may try strengthening the vastus medialis obliquus muscle (VMO) – one of the quadriceps muscles of your thigh – to prevent this problem from returning.
Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome is tenderness and inflammation at the outside of the knee where the iliotibial band crosses the knee joint. The pain usually starts while running and can intensify as your run progresses. Walking on hilly surfaces or using stairs can make the symptoms worse.
What causes it? Anything that creates tightness in your IT band. The result is likely friction, pain and inflammation. Fallen arches are often responsible. This condition causes the lower leg to rotate inward upon a heel strike. This pre-stretches tissue and makes it vulnerable to excessive strain. Pelvic imbalances or restrictions may also contribute to this syndrome.
What can you do? Avoid running on hills. Have your chiropractor check your pelvis and your feet for imbalances. Although extremely painful, massaging the outside part of the leg may also help reduce the tightness and soreness in the long term. Once the pain is manageable, stretching the tensor fascia lata muscle, located in your thigh, as well as the gluteal muscles may help halt the return of this syndrome.
Alignment is the key to avoid most running injuries. Be sure to have your chiropractor check your alignment before starting a running program. Correcting the problem early may help prevent a more painful situation from happening down the road.
Shooting Back Pains?
Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is typically a very painful condition involving the joints that connect your spine to your pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are formed by the sacrum, a bone at the bottom of the spine, and the large iliac bones, located on the left and right of the pelvis. Because of their anatomical position, SI joints can sometimes be considered part of your lower back or your pelvis. These joints support the upper body when sitting or standing.
If you have SI joint dysfunction, you may feel pain in various parts of your lower body, including the spine, buttocks, hips, groin and legs.
Many patients presenting with SI joint pain tend to think they either have sciatica or “tail-bone” pain. Although it can resemble other conditions, SI joint dysfunction is a distinct condition of its own. Your chiropractor needs to use keen diagnostic skills to diagnose the SI joints as the source of your pain.
What Causes SI Joint Dysfunction?
SI joint dysfunction is often caused by a fall or injury, but it can also appear without a clear cause. Postural changes due to increased abdominal size can irritate these joints, as can muscle imbalances in the legs, lower back or hips. Sporting activities that require frequent use of these joints, such as golfing and cycling, may result in SI joint dysfunction.’
This joint problem often affects pregnant women. Hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy can cause ligaments to relax. When this happens, the SI joints have a more extended range of motion. This broader flexibility can lead to abnormal wear and stress on these joints.
Fortunately, chiropractic can help in this situation. A study revealed “91% of women with sacroiliac/pelvic subluxations and lower back pain reported relief of pain with chiropractic adjustments.”
The Chiropractic Approach to a Baffling Condition
How does your chiropractor determine if you suffer from sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
Providing a detailed health history is helpful. Many times, a correct diagnosis can be drawn from the history alone. A physical examination will often be conducted to thoroughly exhaust all the various causes of the pain. Your chiropractor may ask detailed questions about the pain and direct you to point to the painful areas.
If your pain can be reproduced by special tests that challenge the integrity of the SI joints, you’ll find that this increases your odds of having a dysfunction of these joints. Applying direct pressure to the SI joints is one of the techniques used by chiropractors to resolve the problem.
The goal is to normalize both the movement and position of this area. You may be required to complete stretching and strengthening exercises for your lower back and pelvic areas to correct posture problems and gait patterns that may contribute to the inflammation of these joints. If instability of the SI joints is thought to be the cause of the pain, your chiropractor may recommend that you wear a special belt around your waist to stabilize the joints.
Can You Stop SI Problems Before They Happen?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said the wise Ben Franklin. Your chiropractor suggests a couple of simple ways to minimize your chances of developing this painful problem.
Keep your body in good physical condition. This helps prevent many problems related to joints, muscles and bones. The second piece of advice is to shed excess pounds. Too much body weight places pressure on the joints and increases the possibility of damage.
By getting chiropractic adjustments and following your chiropractor’s advice, you boost your chances of living a life virtually free of muscle and joint pain.
Many times, expectant mothers feel like pain and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. Lowery Chiropractic is here to give you an option for a pain free pregnancy.
During this very special time, we encourage you to let us take care of the discomfort that comes along with the rapid changes that are occurring to your body.
We achieve this naturally, without medication or surgery. As the baby (and mom) grow, the weight will transfer to the pelvis, low back, and hips of the mother.
These changes occur so rapidly that the body has difficulty “keeping up” and adapting. Many times these joints will lock up under the new stresses.
This means less irritation, less inflammation, and less pain! The imbalance of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are another cause of pain.
Chiropractic can ease the tension on the soft tissues as well.
If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, round ligament pain, back pain, or other pregnancy related issues, call our chiropractic office and see if he can help.
Keep in mind that chiropractors are not only trained in the health and treatment of the spine. At Lowery Chiropractic, we treat the whole body including the ankles, knees, and wrists.