With the rise of active aware individuals in the community, community walking and running groups are slowly growing and are the most popular activities in 2018. So how can we support the 2019 new years resolution and growing park run movement in avoiding and recovering from injuries while living healthier lives?
The causes of running or walking injuries:
Everyone starts off somewhere from having limited capacity. Whether this is no walking, slow runs or only doing 10km a week. What tends to occur especially around the new year is that people start to increase the distances that they exercise, or increase the speed which overloads the muscles.
Other common areas of overload are cross training or starting gym training that then stresses the muscles slightly too much.
With a growing concern for walking around bare foot more and more children are developing poor foot biomechanics from a young age because they are placed in shoes
This is made worse by the poor design of fashionable shoes which often have soft padded flat insides that allow the foot to collapse and not require to build up the functional arch
Adaptive gait patterns that have developed to maintain function despite pain from this injury or a previous one also contributes to poor biomechanics.
The 3 most common running injuries are:
- Patello-femoral pain syndrome
Commonly known as runners’ knee, it is linked with overload in the quadriceps in runners and walkers. By overworking the quadriceps muscles, individuals increase the pressure between the patella and groove. This leads to patients experiencing an ache deep in the knee and reporting osteoarthritis symptoms. Poor biomechanics of the foot can contribute to increased forces placed through the lateral aspects of the quadriceps with every step slowly building to overuse injury.
2. Achilles tendinopathy
One of the more common injuries on the Sunshine Coast due to the attraction of running and walking on the beach. It is frequently caused by an over use of the Achilles tendon, either from poor biomechanics increasing the tension in the tendon with every step or changing speed, distance that is completed.
Early signs of it occurring is a burning sensation in the Achilles at the start of exercise that eases through the warm up and returns post exercise.
3. Gluteal tendinopathy
Common in the elder population who change activity and have lost strength through ageing. It is also common in the teenage years as bones and muscles are growing and they begin to slowly increase activity. Symptoms often include hip pain along with experiencing a clicking with hip range. Individuals will also experience pain with inclines and standing up from a seated position.
How can physiotherapy help:
- Protection phase
Initially it is important to offload the overworked muscles and rest them, while using ice to try and reduce the inflammation. During this stage it is important to maintain the current length of the muscle and avoiding letting the muscle restrict further. Along with physiotherapy techniques to relax tight muscles, gentle movement exercises would be given to maintain movement in the leg. It is important to closely monitor this stage and prevent rushing through it, as aggravation of the muscle is easy at this stage.
2. Strengthening phase
After the initial inflammation of the muscle has subsided it is important to start strengthening the muscle. This will involve a progressive isometric and eccentric exercises to avoid overloading the muscle while building its capacity and strength for the patients’ hobbies and goals.
3. Regaining full muscle length and correction muscle imbalances
With an improvement in pain and improved strength of the muscle, it is important to address the muscle imbalances between opposing muscles that cause overload of muscles to prevent future injuries and re-occurrence. It is also important to regain the full length of the muscle that was injured as this will still be reduced and is at a higher risk of re-injury unless it is returned to its pre-injury state.
At this stage once the underlying issue causing pain has been addressed it is important to look at any adaptive walking or running habits that have occurred due to the pain. This will prevent a different injury or for the original injury to return. It is also important to look at foot biomechanics to see if there was a pre-disposing issue that has caused the injury.
5. Returning to sport
A gradual return to sport is then recommended and supported with a gradual increasing in distance, speed as well as exercises to manage and avoid future injury.
If you suffer from any pain caused by running, book in with one of our Physiotherapists today! Click the link below