Many Palmdale Physical Therapist will inform you that every runner can expect to experience an injury at some point in his or her running career. In fact, it’s conceivable that no human walks the earth that hasn’t experienced a negative pang, a sore muscle, or an achy joint following a run.
Whether or not that injury requires intervention in the form of physical therapy can depend on how prepared your body is for your run (running form)–or it may have happened thanks to over-training. Both causes are quite common.
Do I Really Should Stop Running?
One of the most difficult things to hear as a runner is that you will need to stop running. After all, according to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 80 percent of running injuries are caused by too much of an increase in mileage–which means the injured party was likely attempting to get more into running at the time of injury.
I didn’t so much harm myself as fail to train my body to exercise at all. When I started exercising regularly, my workouts were followed by a day or so of debilitating knee pain, especially when going up or down stairs.
However, a break from running is often the first thing prescribed by a physical therapist treating running injuries. After all, muscles and joints are slower to adjust to stress than the cardiovascular system–meaning it is easy for runners to wear out their legs, back, or neck before wearing out their lungs.
At the first sign of pain, it is advisable to back off, slow to a walk, and focus on extending or cross training to strengthen the muscles surrounding the sore spot. Indeed, many common running injuries are attributable to weak muscles around a target area. The runner suffering knee difficulty found this to be the case:
Of course, physical therapy is a lot like homework–it can often be an annoying and long-term commitment, and it can take an inordinate amount of time, patience, and persistence. Progress is often slow, and sometimes the pain gets worse before it gets better.
However, something is better than nothing; said the runner with the knee injury, I have continued to do the exercises with greater and lesser fidelity for the last year or so. I can now jog and climb stairs and generally go about life with considerably more minimal and rare knee pain.”
So What Sorts Of Injuries Are Okay?
In general, muscle soreness is to be expected with most forms of physical activity. In addition, many people experience stiffness at the start of a workout or joint discomfort for a day after the workout.
As long as all such pain dissipates after a short while, no additional action is necessary.
When Can I Call In The Physical Therapist?
Any pain that lingers or keeps you up at night should be carefully monitored and possibly treated. Furthermore, if you get a few minutes and the pain gets worse, stop and walk and seek medical advice.
Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that many runners report on how they changed their stride to compensate for a sore spot–but compensating doesn’t fix the problem, and it may in fact cause other injuries.
What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?
As demonstrated from the runner with knee pain, physical therapy for running injuries often focuses on building up the muscles around the injured area, particularly in the legs, as well as massaging and stretching the injured area.
For extreme injuries, most Palmdale Physical Therapist can offer a way to exhaust all options before surgery–an unenviable prospect that essentially guarantees a long and harrowing recovery period.
Physical therapy for running injuries typically consists of stretching and strengthening exercises using stability balls, resistance bands, and body weight exercises, as well as foam rollers for massaging the muscles.
Each runner–and injuryis different, which is why every individual should seek the professional advice of a physical therapist for how to treat their individual injury.
One runner and former gymnast found that Physical Therapy helped restore her range of motion. After suffering torn ligaments and tendons in her ankle, the runner went through Physical Therapy that consisted of several stretching and strength training exercises, including a simple but effective exercise where she sat on the floor with her legs straight out, alternating between flexing and pointing her toe when with a resistance band.
Another exercise focused on balance had her stand on the leg before graduating to standing on a sofa cushion or other soft surface, then standing on the soft surface while playing catch with the physical therapist.
Just as important as restoring her range of motion, the Physical Therapy helped her learn how to rely on the injured ankle again instead of favoring it and causing her to run”funny” and injure something else.
Runners that have suffered injuries and been through PT are, unsurprisingly, advised to continue their exercises.
The runner with the torn ligaments admits she proceeds to do her exercises just when her ankle starts to get sore or if her opposite hip begins to hurt because she’s”running funny” to favor the affected ankle.
What Can I Do To Avoid Injury?
First and foremost, avoid the number one pitfall–increasing mileage too quickly–by following a run program with built-in gradual increases in mileage.
A sensible schedule, good nutrition and rest, and regular strength training are also advisable. Avoiding runs that consist of hard surfaces and downhill running can also help avoid injury.