running-injuries

Running Pains

This article is supplied by Shannon Chown, senior physiotherapist at Livewell Pain Management Centre Townsville.

The problem

There is nothing worse than an injury when you’re out there on the go or preparing for an event. It can slow progress, prevent completion or participation in your chosen activity and can completely stall fitness goals. But here you are, just starting your exercise journey or upping your intensity for an upcoming event, and you have to stop half way through your session due to what feels like a sharp stick jabbing you just above the outside of your knee. You feel tight and tender down the outside of your thigh, and may have pain the morning following exercise.

“Your best chance at avoiding this gem is a gradual increase in duration/frequency of your training, plus having correct shoes/orthotics, appropriate bike set up (particularly seat height) and a regular stretching regime” – Shannon Chown

The cause

Chances are you have ITB (Iliotibial band) friction syndrome. Thankfully, you’re not alone — it accounts for up to 22% of leg injuries in distance runners and cyclists — and it is very treatable. It’s due to an irritation of the connective tissue or bursa (fluid-filled sac) that runs along the length of your thigh and is aggravated during repetitive knee bending activities —hence the high incidence in runners and cyclists.

The plan of attack

Your best chance at avoiding this gem is a gradual increase in duration/frequency of your training, plus having correct shoes/orthotics, appropriate bike set up (particularly seat height) and a regular stretching regime.

If you’re among the many that have fallen into its clutches, your best bet is to make friends with a foam roller — a simple yet effective piece of dense foam (some with vicious little bumps and contours) that you can lay on and roll along the length of the ITB, releasing the tight connective tissues. Also, check out the ‘pretzel’ stretch.

These measures, coupled with an initial decrease in activity, gradual return to training that doesn’t increase your symptoms and using simple ice packs following activity, mean you should find yourself on the mend in a few weeks to a month.

For those more difficult conditions not responding to your best efforts, a physiotherapist should be able to accurately diagnose the cause behind your symptoms and implement a treatment plan to get you back out there and on the go.

Please note: The information provided is general in nature and should not substitute any health or medical advice. Please consult a qualified professional to assist with any specific conditions or queries. You know the drill ;)


 

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Shannon Chown

Shannon Chown

Shannon is the senior physiotherapist at Livewell Pain Management Centre Townsville. He graduated with a bachelor degree in physiotherapy from James Cook University and has a diverse background in sports, musculoskeletal, aged care, hospital inpatients and persistent pain conditions. He is currently completing his masters of manual therapy through the University of Western Australia and enjoys keeping fit with his family in the wonderful surrounds of Townsville. livewellpainmanagementcentre.com.au

2 comments

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  1. David Gentile 5 August, 2014 at 10:56 Reply

    What are your recommendations for correct shoes? I feel under the guise of ‘barefoot running’ and my running shoes lack any support. However, walking into a shoe store does not make it particularly easy to know which shoe is best. How does one go about figuring out what kind of support they need?

  2. Shannon Chown 18 August, 2014 at 12:27 Reply

    Great question thank you David. Picking the right shoe can be tricky when you’re not sure what you need. It’s important to consider what you type of activity you will be doing, whether it be running, walking, hiking, tennis, basketball etc as one shoe is unlikely to be great for all exercise. If you dabble in a few different activities a cross trainer can be a bit of an all rounder, but if it’s plenty of Km’s your pushing out or regular tennis a sports specific shoe is likely to be more suited. Your specific foot requirements obviously influences what type of support you will need. If you roll in (pronate) you may need increased arch support, or out (supinate) you might need a shoe with better lateral support. Heel cushioning can be more important for walking but less so for running, and with sports where you frequently stop/start and change direction more lateral/medial stability and durability are important. For more specific advice I would suggest a review from a podiatrist/physiotherapist to have a quick check up and get a clear view of what you require.

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