Running is a great way to stay in shape, manage stress, and increase your overall wellbeing. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. While being a low-risk activity, there are a few injuries that commonly affect runners. As running is a repetitive impact activity, most running injuries develop slowly and can be challenging to treat. Here are three of the most common conditions faced by runners.
1. Patellofemoral Pain (PFP) – AKA Runner’s Knee:
Runners’ knee is a persistent pain on the inside of the knee caused by the dysfunctional movement of the kneecap during movement. The kneecap sits in a small groove at the centre of the knee and glides smoothly up and down as the knee bends and straightens. If something causes the kneecap to move abnormally, the surface underneath can become damaged, irritated, and painful. The pain might be mild to start with; however, left untreated, runner’s knee can make running too painful to continue. Generally, a strengthening program focused on the hip can be utilised to improve your symptoms.
2. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) – AKA Shin Splints:
Shin splints is a common condition characterised by a recurring pain at the inside of the shin. While the cause of this condition is not always clear, it is usually due to repeated stress where the calf muscles attach to the tibia (shin bone), the tibialis posterior muscle or bone overload. Why this becomes painful is likely due to a combination of factors that can be identified by your physiotherapist to help you get back on track as soon as possible. A strengthening program, biomechanical improvements and a graded return to impact program may be utilised to treat this condition.
3. Achilles Tendinopathy:
The Achilles tendon is the thick tendon at the back of the ankle that attaches to the calf muscles. The amount of force that this tendon can absorb is impressive. It is vital in providing the propulsive force needed for running. If the stresses placed on the tendon exceed its strength and tolerance to load, the tissues begin to breakdown and become painful. Treatment is focussed on helping the healthy tendon tissues to strengthen and adapt to new forces while allowing the damaged tissue to heal and regenerate.