Common Running Injuries - Long-Distance Races
Leading up to a long distance road race like the upcoming 2018 Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend (Friday, February 9 - Sunday, February 11), our practice generally sees an increase in foot, ankle & knee injuries.
What are the most common injuries participants experience training for a long-distance running event?
- The most common injuries we see with runners in general, and especially training for a long-distance race, are what we categorize as chronic injuries.
- Chronic injuries (or conditions) are what we refer to overuse injuries.
- Like the name suggests, it is caused by overuse of particular part of your body – in runner’s cases typically the foot, ankle or knee leg.
- Overuse injuries develop slowly and last a long time, so you can see the correlation with participants training 5-6 days/week for the last 3-4 months.
Foot & Ankle - Overuse Injuries
If you have pain in your heel, the most common culprit is Plantar Fasciitis.
- Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time.
- You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps.
- Your foot may hurt more as the day goes on.
- It may hurt the most when you climb stairs or after you stand for a long time.
- Typically, Plantar Fasciitis can be overcome with physical therapy and orthotics.
- In moderate to severe cases of Plantar Fasciitis, our physicians perform a non-surgical procedure known as Topaz Microdebrider.
The most common cause of ankle pain, which is an inflammation of an ankle tendon.
- Include swelling in the ankle area and mild or severe pain.
- The pain may come on gradually or may only occur when you walk or run.
- You may have less strength and range of movement in the ankle.
- Problems with the Achilles tendon may seem to happen suddenly. But usually they are the result of many tiny tears in the tendon that have happened over time.
- In most cases, Achilles Tendinitis can be treated with rest, icing/compressing/elevating your leg and stretching/strengthening exercises with a physical therapist.
Knee - Overuse Injuries
Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome
Also known as Runner’s or Jumper’s Knee – is a common cause of anterior knee pain.
- The front of the knee will hurt with running, especially when running up/down a hill.
- This issue can be from over training, alignment issues, or weakness in the quadriceps, causing the knee cap to not track well and pain develops.
- Relative rest, bracing and orthotics help with alignment issues of the knee and arches.
- Therapy to strengthen the quadriceps muscle as well as reviewing running mechanics.
A stress fracture is a hairline crack in a bone. In some cases, the crack may be so small that it is not visible on an x-ray. In long distance running, stress fractures are most common in the leg and foot. Stress fractures are usually caused by repeated stress on a bone.
- The most common symptom of a stress fracture is persistent pain at the site of the fracture.
- Pain may improve temporarily during exercise but gets increasingly worse after each exercise session.
- If the activity that caused the stress fracture is stopped, the bone will typically heal itself, and symptoms will go away.
- The activity can then be resumed gradually until the bone becomes conditioned to the repeated movement.
What should someone do if they believe they have one of these injuries?
We recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our 6 non-surgical physicians, who have the ability to identify the specific injury with an x-ray and a physical exam. In most cases, all of the injuries we discussed today, can be treated non-surgically through rest, physical therapy and/or bracing. However, we have the ability to refer to one of our surgeons if we determine a more serious condition.
To request an appointment with Dr. Carter, Casey, Colberg, Miner, Ortega or Umarvadia, contact Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center at (205) 939-3699 and request to speak with one of our non-surgical physician appointment schedulers.