Getting to the Finish Line: Overcoming Overuse Injuries


Ramping up your mileage as you train for the Mesa-PHX Marathon? As you progress through your training, you may begin to notice pain, weakness, or fatigue that’s limiting your workout. Overuse injuries are often ignored by athletes, marathon runners and even weekend warriors, but if you ignore them for too long, they can lead to a halt in your running—and even prevent you from completing your goal of running a marathon.

At Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, we treat an array of runners to assist with overuse injuries. One approach, that’s growing with popularity, is trigger point dry needling (TDN). This treatment is used to treat myofascial trigger points which are hypersensitive taut palpable bands of muscle tissue. In addition to these bands of tissue being painful, they also cause restricted range of motion and decreased muscle performance.

Dry needling is performed by inserting a thin, sterile, filiform needle through the surface of the skin into the muscle tissue. Once the needle is inserted the therapist may use a fanning technique (dynamic needling) or leave the needle in the same location for several minutes (static needling).

There are several mechanisms by which TDN provides pain relief. One way that TDN works is by causing a local twitch response (LTR) of the trigger point, promoting relaxation of the taut band. In addition to the LTR, the pin prick of the needle causes the body’s natural pain relievers to be released by the brain and spinal cord, it also stimulates deep blood flow to the muscle which promotes healing, and decreases local inflammatory mediators.

All of these mechanisms allow you to recover quickly from your overuse injury and continue your marathon training program. Interested in learning more about dry needling? Contact us today to set up a Rapid Recovery Free Injury Assessment where you’ll meet one-on-one to discuss your concerns with a licensed physical therapist. Many of our therapists are passionate about running, so we’ll do our part to get you safely to the Mesa-PHX Marathon race line. I’m currently training for the Mesa-PHX half marathon and it will be my 18th half marathon race.

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Mesa-PHX Marathon. We’ll be set up the day of the marathon in the Runner Recovery tents to help ease any aches and pains after the race.


Ted Carter

PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, Cert. TDN Ahwatukee Location