Osteopath for Running Injuries

We regularly see runners especially over the marathon training period who need some hands on help and support. With the increase in running distances aches and strains tend to develop.

To achieve your optimal running performance it is important to find the right balance.  Running is repetitive and demanding so injuries are common. In this blog we have outlined some common running injuries and how our osteopaths in London can help.

Runners Knee or Anterior Knee Pain 

Most commonly called runners knee, this is a very common injury with runners. The repetitive, demanding nature of running will cause additional forces through your knee. If there is a muscular imbalance this will cause irritation into the tendons on one side of your knee through knee cap (patella) maltracking.

What Part of the Knee is Damaged in Runners Knee?

Your patella or knee cap after putting too much strain on the kneecap after prolonged running. Symptoms of this injury are dull aching type pain around the knee cap (maybe swelling), especially at the top of the knee cap. The pain will be worse upon loading the knee so walking up and downstairs, running after a short distance (maybe 5 miles) and after a run that evening or the following morning.

Achilles Tendonitis 

Your achilles tendon runs from the back of your heel to your calf muscles. Injury to the area may be caused poor running technique, increasing your mileage and/or speed too quickly. Poor function of the ankle, knee or hip functions, tight calf and hamstring tensions. Feeling pain and tenderness to touch along the back of foot or above the heel (sometimes swelling) are normal symptoms.

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis to Flare Up? 

Aggravated by weight bearing, walking up and downstairs and running. If this occurs rest from training initially to allow time for the tendon to recover. Then see an Osteopath who can advise on the right exercises (stretching and strengthening) to speed up your recovery.

Shin Splints

A dull achy pain down your shins that becomes progressively sharper aggravated by weight bearing could be a sign of shin splints.

Do Shin Splints Go Away?

No, if you experience shin pains, do some gentle stretching for your shin muscles (tibalis anterior) and calf muscles. Rest and book an osteopathy appointment to get it checked out. Do not ‘push through it’ in this case, as you may damage the shin bones with stress fractures. Shin splints can be caused by muscular imbalances, tightness and running technique. If you are new to running and the compressive loading through the feet and ankles this could increase your risk of having shin splints.

Can It Help with Shin Splints?

Yes, an Osteopath can give hands on treatment to lightly stretch the muscles and articulate the joints and advise you on a rehabilitation plan to aid your recovery. Shin splints can effect mainly the muscle in the earlier stages but it is best to get on top of the symptoms before affecting the bone.  

Hamstring Tendonitis 

Typically you feel hamstring injuries straight away whilst exercising. You will feel a sudden pain whilst running in the back of your thigh or a deeper pain in your buttock. It will then be difficult to walk and straightening your knee will be painful. You may experience weaknesses and your hamstring will be tender to touch. Pain will be aggravated on squats, lunging and on prolonged sitting.  

Is Tendinopathy the Same as a Tendonitis?  

No, a tendonitis is where your tendon becomes inflamed from movements which overload your tendon suddenly. This causes micro tears to the tendon (Bass). A Tendinopathy is the degeneration of your tendon through chronic overuse such as repetitive strain injuries. When this happens it is important to rest and allow the body to heal.    

How do you Treat Hamstring Strain and Tendonitis?

A combination of muscular strengthening, light stretching and hands on therapy. Everybody is different and so should their rehab plans be. However typically we suggest to keep moving but try non weight bearing activities like cross trainer or swimming for 2 weeks after the injury onset. Also muscular strengthening and tendon loading exercises and then graded return to activity. To optimise your recovery we offer hands on osteopathy or sports massage and Pilates rehab exercises. Also nutrition can optimise healing with synthesis of collagen production. Adopting an anti inflammatory diet or being even more specific by talking to our nutritionist would be worthwhile. At Wellthy Clinic we want to take proactive steps to prevent a recurrence by questioning why did it happen in the first place. Could your hip mobility be improved? How is your core, hamstrings and glut strength? How is your upper back and ankle mobility?   

Does Hamstring Tendonitis go Away?  

Yes you will recover but it will take time to heal. Recurrence rates are high (30% of people) so it’s important to have a rehab plan. Your tendonitis could also develop into a tendinosis which have longer healing times so it’s best to have an effective rehab plan.

How Long does a Hamstring Tendonitis Last?

Typically a tendonitis can take anywhere between a few days – 6 weeks depending on the individual. However it is important not to repeatedly strain the tendon otherwise this could cause a Tendinosis which could take between 6-10 weeks (early stage) or 3-6 months (chronic stage). A tendonitis is where your tendon becomes inflamed from movements which overload your tendon suddenly. This causes micro tears to the tendon. A Tendinopathy is the degeneration of your tendon through chronic overuse such as repetitive strain injuries. When this happens it is important to rest and allow the body to heal. Therefore seeing an Osteopath to diagnose correctly and formulate an effective rehab is all important to heal, stop progression into a tendinopathy and prevent recurrence.  

Hip Flexor Strains 

How Do you Know if you have Pulled Your Hip Flexor?  

Quite common in runners who engage in a lot of forceful flexion movements. You may feel pain whilst you were exercising or afterwards. Hip flexion will be painful and your muscles at the front of your thigh will be tender to touch. 

Can I Exercise with a Hip Flexor Strain? 

Yes but initially it maybe better to do some light stretching and rest for a week before returning to activity. Having a rehab plan to avoid future recurrence would be advised. Improving your core strength through Pilates and addressing hip mobility through hands on Osteopathy would be beneficial.       

How Do you Treat a Strained Hip Flexor?

A combination of core strengthening and light stretching your hip flexors and hamstrings is always a good place to start. That said everybody is different so hands on Osteopathy and Pilates rehab exercises specific for the individual will gain the best results and speed up your recovery.

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