Runner experiencing joint pain

When Running Slows You Down

While running can be a wonderful exercise that results in increased physical and mental health, there are times when too much running, running without stretching first, and running while wearing improper footwear, can cause pain and dysfunction. When that happens, you need the services of the talented physiatrists at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine. If you are experiencing discomfort or limited mobility after a run, contact one of our offices for rapid, effective diagnosis and treatment.

We find that many of our patients begin a running regimen or try to increase their pace or distance as part of their New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, too many of them don’t pay attention to the fact that increasing their endurance requires thoughtful preparation. Those who start with a bang, often end with a whimper. 

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors have a holistic approach and are therefore able to provide you with excellent guidance about how to avoid injuries as well as to provide customized treatments to heal them. Contacting us can help you achieve your athletic and health goals without suffering negative consequences. 

Common Running Injuries

Risks of injury vary depending not only on preparation for running, but on the type of running you engage in, your age, and your physical condition. In any case, it is important to hydrate and get sufficient rest. Taking all of these steps can help you avoid the following problems:

1. Shin splints

Although shin splints can happen to anyone, they are more likely to occur when runners suddenly increase their activity level by running more frequently or for longer periods. They are also more common in people with flat feet. Although not serious injuries, shin splints can cause severe pain along the front or inside of the shin bone (tibia), the front bone of the lower leg. At times, this pain may be indistinguishable from stress fractures until X-rays are taken.

2. Stress fractures 

Stress fractures are thin cracks in a bone that often occur when a runner does not allow the body the time it needs to adjust to a new activity level. Repetitive stress only widens the crack, resulting in more serious injury. This is why it’s very important for runners who experience pain to have it diagnosed. Runners who continue to run in spite of stress fracture pain only increase the length of recovery.

3. Runner’s knee

Known medically as patellofemoral syndrome, runner’s knee is due to overuse. Patients who suffer this injury have a kneecap that has moved out of proper alignment. Some people are more prone to this injury because of an inborn structural defect. You should suspect runner’s knee if you experience knee pain, especially when walking stairs, squatting, or after sitting with your knee bent for a long period. 

Symptoms also include rubbing, grinding, or clicking sensations and sounds of the kneecap. It is wise to have your knee injury diagnosed and treated as soon as possible since over time the injury will wear down your kneecap cartilage permanently.

4 . Muscle strain

It is not unusual for runners to overstretch a muscle, causing a small tear in the tissue that may result in a popping sensation. Runners commonly strain the following muscles:

  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Calf
  • Groin

5. Sprained ankles 

This is a familiar injury not only to runners but to those who play team sports or accidently slip and fall. When you sprain an ankle, the ligaments around the ankle stretch and/or tear, usually as your foot twists or rolls inward. Severe ankle sprains can take months to heal completely.

4. Achilles tendonitis

This condition involves degenerative changes to the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that attaches the back of the heel to the calf. Patients experience pain, burning, and stiffness in the region, particularly when they first awaken.

5. Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue at the bottom of the foot, extending from the heel to the toes. Though the pain this injury causes is located along the bottom of the affected foot rather than at the heel, like Achilles tendonitis, this injury is also typically most painful when the patient first stands up in the morning. 

6. IT (iliotibial) band syndrome

The IT band is the ligament that stretches from the hip to the outside of the knee. This syndrome causes pain along the ligament as the tissue thickens, rubbing against the knee bone and causing inflammation.

Contact Our Experienced Running Injury Doctors Today

Some running injuries will heal with rest and home remedies, but ignoring pain or impaired mobility for more than a day or two is never a good idea. We have cutting-edge diagnostic equipment and varied treatment options to see to it that you’re up and running as soon as possible. Contact us now for the broad range of therapies that have given us our outstanding record of prompt, successful outcomes.