Even though the popular P.F. Chang’s Rock’n’Roll Marathon has come and gone, long distance runners can look forward to training for any of the seven upcoming marathons in Arizona.
Don’t miss out on your next race – check out our AZ physical therapy experts’ tips and recommendations for overcoming common distance running injuries:
While they seem harmless enough, the friction of your shoes, socks and skin rubbing together causes blisters. Fluid becomes trapped under the skin and can cause irritation and pain.
To treat the injury doctors recommend you sterilize the area, drain the blister by popping it (with a sterile needle) and then cover the blister with a bandage.
To prevent blisters in the future, runners recommend wearing socks that resist moisture and finding the right fitting pair of shoes and socks. These two preventative measures can reduce the risk of getting pesky blisters while training.
- Muscle Pull
There are all kinds of muscle pulls including hamstring, quadriceps, calf and groin. Pulling a leg muscle often occurs when the muscle is overstretched. The result can be swelling and irritation of nerve endings.
To treat a muscle pull, use the RICE acronym: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. According to doctors, resting the leg and giving the muscle time to heal is key to rehabilitating the injury. Ice, compression and elevation of the injury help with swelling associated with the injury.
To avoid muscle strain runners should always stretch before physical activity. Additionally, runners recommend warming up by walking briskly and doing light exercise before increasing their intensity.
- Shin Splints
Much like muscle pulls, shin splints are often caused by overuse of running muscles and can cause irritation and swelling. They are also easily treated and healed with time.
If you experience shin splints, doctors recommend resting your body and icing the area.
To prevent further injury runners should consider adjusting their exercise routine and wearing better-fitting footwear.
- Runner’s Knee
While commonly attributed to overuse, runner’s knee can also happen due to direct trauma to the knee such as taking a fall or trip. Runner’s knee is when the cartilage underneath the kneecap becomes irritated.
To treat the injury doctors recommend resting the muscle and returning to running by strengthening the muscles around your pelvis. Stabilizing your back, hips and quadriceps can reduce the strain put on your knees when running.
- Achilles Tendinitis
If you feel pain along the backside of your foot and into your ankle, you might be experiencing Achilles Tendinitis. Moving or jerking suddenly likely causes this common runner’s injury.
To treat an Achilles tendon injury, doctors recommend following the RICE acronym and using orthopedic inserts to lessen the strain on the tendon. Resting your muscles and exercising in pools or swimming won’t strain your tendon and allow time to heal.
To avoid future tendon injuries you should avoid running uphill and be careful in slowly raising the intensity of workouts.
While all these injuries are treatable and preventable, not all of them can be solved with icing the injury and rest alone. If a runner experiences pain for more than a few weeks it’s a sign their injury is far more serious. Good runners have to know when to seek out a professional.
Our AZ physical therapy experts at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy know how to help heal you and get you back on the road in no time. If you find yourself in pain, make an appointment today for your physical therapy consultation! To learn more about different physical therapy techniques and what our certified Physical therapists can do for you check out the Foothills blog.