7 most common injuries in sports

Summer is approaching and most of us will be out in the sun trying to stay active. Exercise is great for you but you can get injured if you don’t do it right. Here are the seven most common sports injuries:

1. Ankle sprain (rolling the ankle)
2. Groin pull
3. Hamstring pull or sprain
4. Shin Splints
5. ACL tear in Knee
6. Patello-femoral Syndrome (kneecap rubbing against the thigh bone or Femur)
7. Tennis Elbow

Mot of the injuries are strains or sprains to the ligaments, muscles and tendons. This is what most of us refer to as “pulling a muscle”. Playing sports or being active sometimes comes with a cost and accidents to happen but in most cases these injuries can be prevented if you take the proper precautions.

What I commonly see in my office are injuries that could have been prevented from proper stretching or conditioning to prepare for the activity desired. Basketball, soccer, football, tennis all need different stretches and conditioning in order to perform the activity and help prevent injury. Often when asking athletes if they stretch, they say not enough or no. This will lead to injury. Stretching right before and after the activity is necessary if you want to prevent tearing or pulling on the musculoskeletal system.

I often have to tell active patients that stretching before and after a workout is for the workout, not for the rest of the day. Most people have desk jobs where they are sitting or even standing at a desk for multiple hours per day. This tightens up the body and puts stress on different joints. Stretching is needed because there is very little activity for the day. You must take into account of any sedentary lifestyle patterns and move around increasing blood flow and loosening up the joints.

Also, if you have been sitting for hours at a time and not moving then all of a sudden you start running or playing in a sport without proper stretching, you will get hurt unless you do some movement and stretching of the areas that you will be using during the workout.

For those of you that have a physical job like construction, landscaper, painter, plumber, electrician etc. Yes, these jobs are physical and you may feel like you are in great condition but remember that these jobs put quiet a strain on the body and do need stretching beforehand. You must prepare your body for the physical job and it is normally pretty repetitive leading to strained areas. Also, I find that these jobs normally use specific muscles all day long and other muscles are not utilized leading to an imbalance in the system that often leads to injury. For instance, if you are a plumber you often are laying on your back looking up cranking a wrench turning the forearm back and forth. This puts a strain on those areas but the back is weak because it it not engaged. Now you are at risk of injuring your back because your arm, shoulders and hands are strong but the back isn’t. Understanding what needs to be conditioned for your specific lifestyle is key to preventing injuries with physical jobs as well.

So what do you do when one of these injuries happen?
Well, first of all get the swelling down first. Normally after a sprain or strain to an area there is swelling. Ice normally takes care of this during the first 24 hours. However, even if the swelling goes down that doesn’t mean that the injury is healed. After the swelling is gone, now we need to rehab the area and get it strong and moving the way it should again. This will take some time but if done right, you should be able to start doing your workout or activity without restrictions.

If you sprain the area multiple times, it may be the shoes you are wearing, equipment you are using or your form. All of this can be modified to prevent further injuries.

Remember, your lifestyle determins your health status and keeping muscles relaxed before and after a workout is key to a healthy body free of pain or dis-ease.

If you experience any of the above and are in the Redwood City area, we can help.

Why Olympian Usain Bolt and other athletes use chiropractors

Usain Bolt is one mighty fast runner and has won 8 Olympic gold medals. This is a hard goal to accomplish and Bolt has had several hurdles to jump over during his career.

Early on in life, Usain was told he had Scoliosis. This is a lateral curve of the spine and can highly affect the structure of the body. This curve can get worse in time. Early on in his career he didn’t manage it well and got injured every year.

Instead of wearing a brace or seeing a surgeon, he decided to get chiropractic care instead. Bolt states that he uses chiropractic to recover from injuries faster and states that the care enhances his athletic performance.

Top US golfer Jordan Spieth has stated many times that chiropractic care played a huge role in his tournament wins.

Tom Brady who is a Bay Area native also has spoken out about the positive affects of chiropractic care.

Aaron Rodgers who is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers was born into a chiropractic family and has reported how this treatment allows him to remain healthy, recover from injuries faster and increases his performance on the field.

Your spine and brain are important, keep them healthy and they will keep you healthy!

3 Reasons To See A Chiropractor After An Injury

Athletes and non-athletes can roll their ankle when walking, running, dancing etc.

As an athlete, the demands put on the body can lead to wear and tear and injuries do sometimes occur. Even more so when we get older. Since our bones and muscles age right along with us, our bodies are more prone to get tweaked and sustain an injury. Seeing a chiropractor for treatment not only can help prevent injuries by keeping the body moving properly and keeping it strong, but if an athlete sustains an injury, it can help with a more speedy recovery. How you may ask?

Well, as you may know many professional athletic teams have added chiropractors to the staff to consult on treatment options when a player is injured. Chiropractors not only treat the spine but any joint that moves. This means not only the spine but extremities too! The full body is assessed and treated.

Here are 3 examples of what chiropractors can do to help with injuries:
1.Faster Healing
A sport injury gone untreated or even just left alone can lead to chronic injuries if the cause is not treated. Chiropractic care improves movement and blood flow to your muscles and soft tissues by allowing them to receive more oxygen and necessary nutrients. Regular chiropractic adjustments also reduce swelling by taking stress off of the area and take pressure produced by inadequate movement of the joints which put strain on the soft tissues and nerve roots which leads to swelling.

2. Better Mobility
Chiropractic care allows for proper movement in the body. This is spinal and extra-spinal. We also perform soft tissue work as well as cold laser at our facility. Increased flexibility and less strain on the body leads to decreased injuries, increased athletic performance and better health.

3. Find issues before there is pain: As most of you know, you get a warning sign before pain will set in. Lack of movement, tightness, a “tweak”, pulling or some sort of dysfunction normally occurs before there is discomfort. If you take care of your body, it will reward you with feeling great and working great! Chiropractic allows the body to do what it is supposed to do, function at its highest capacity!

Remember, if you do get an injury, ice for 15-20 minutes every couple hours for the first 24 hours to take down the swelling. Then after the swelling is down, move! This doesn’t mean go out and run or put a large strain on it but get the joint to move, it will decrease how long it takes to rehabilitate the area.

Medical Doctors Debate Over Plantar Fasciitis Causes. WHY?

Plantar Fasciitis is pretty darn painful.  Common symptoms are stabbing pain in the heel or arch, tight achilles tendon.  10% of all runners get plantar fasciitis at some point.  Any sport with running has had athletes sidelined by this problem. Kobe Bryant from the Lakers, quarterback Eli Manning, olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall have all been victims to this ailment.

But while plantar fasciitis is not well understood, medically as pointed out in NY Times issue in 2013*.   Medical experts agree that plantar fasciitis is the the plantar fascia is irritated.  This fascia attaches at the heel and goes all the way up to the top portion of the toes.   Pain is most common in the morning after the fascia has tightened during the night.

But scientific agreement about the condition and its causes ends about there.

For many years, “most of us who treat plantar fasciitis believed that it involved chronic inflammation” of the fascia, said Dr. Terrence M. Philbin, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center in Westerville, Ohio, who specializes in plantar fasciitis.

Many doctors believe repetitive movements like running, jumping, standing will cause inflammation in the fascia.  This can become chronic and it is really painful and can prevent people from working if they have to be on their feet for any period of time.

But when scientists actually biopsied fascia tissue from people with chronic plantar fasciitis, “they did not find much if any inflammation,” Dr. Philbin said. There were virtually none of the cellular markers that characterize that condition.  According to Dr. Karim Khan “Plantar fasciitis does not involve inflammatory cells,” said Dr. Karim Khan, a professor of family practice medicine at the University of British Columbia and editor of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, who has written extensively about overuse sports injuries.

He believes it is caused most likely by degeneration or weakening of the tissue.  Small tears occur and the tissue.  The small tears don’t heal correctly and begin to accumulate leading to shredding and more tearing which leads to pain.

Dr. Philbin states that people can be pain free within a few months with injections or other invasive treatments.  they must do less running, jumping, walking and stretch the foot involved along with the achilles tendon and hamstrings.

Well, I have been working with people with Plantar Fasciitis for years and in my opinion, it is not the activity, it is the foot.  How a person lands on their foot while walking or running needs to be addressed along with what kind of shoes they wear.  They need a good support of the arch and the heel needs to be supported properly.

HERE IS THE METHOD I HAVE FOUND THAT WORKS BEST:
Yes, rehab is necessary and what I do is adjust the foot, teach patients about proper shoes and proper walking, stretching and soft tissue work.  I also get them to buy orthotics that help them land on their feet properly.  Shots are not going to solve the problem, just cover numb the pain.  With a little bit of time, the pain goes away and the patient now knows how to take care of their feet.  This seems much better than shots or surgery which can slow down healing and sometimes lead to more pain or no change at all.

*References:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/no-consensus-on-a-common-cause-of-foot-pain/?_r=0

Is Artificial Turf Safe To Have Kids Play On?

As you know, California is in a drought.  During this drought a lot of people are opting for artificial turfs to keep the watering low.

Every day, we let our kids play on these turfs and a lot of people don’t realize that it could be a health hazard.

What is being debated about artificial turf are particles in the turf called butadiene rubber or for slang… “crumb rubber.”  These particles are made synthetically from the rubber from old tires.

Dust will raise above the fields and smell like, old tires.   Now that these fields are becoming more prominent for athletics,  a number of people are questioning the safety of fields made of artificial turf.  Especially when it comes to soccer goalies.

There is not a lot of research on it yet but it is worth exploring.

In 2009, Amy Griffin, an associate head soccer coach at the University of Washington, was visiting to women goalies who were young but diagnosed with  non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After speaking with one of the nurses, she said “Don’t tell me you guys are goalkeepers. You’re the fourth goalkeeper I’ve hooked up this week.”

Later, one of the women at the hospital while undergoing chemotherapy said that she had a feeling the cancer was associated with what she said were “black dots.”

Artificial turf fields are now everywhere in the United States, from high schools to professional soccer fields and NFL stadiums.  Anyone who has played on these turfs will testify that the tiny black rubber crumbs (old tires), get everywhere.  Inside a uniform, in hair, cleats and sometimes swallowed.

Goalkeepers, are constantly in contact with the turf.  During practices and games, they make hundreds of dives, and each time, a black cloud of tire pellets into the air.  These particles can get into cuts, scrapes and into their mouths.  Coach Griffin wondered if those crumbs which are now known to contain carcinogens and chemicals – were making players sick.

She stated “I’ve coached for 26, 27 years.”  “My first 15 years, I never heard anything about this. All of a sudden it seems to be a stream of kids.” Since that hospital visit, Griffin has compiled a list of 38 American soccer players who have been diagnosed with cancer.   34 of them are goalies.  Nationwide, blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia dominate the list.

While more testing is needed, New York City has stopped installing crumb rubber fields in its parks in 2008 and the Los Angeles Unified School District did the same in 2009. In Maryland, the Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition supports legislation to require warning signs at artificial turf fields and opposes a bill to use state funds to construct artificial turf fields.

Griffin still continues to do her own research on the topic and that she sends crumbs from each field her team plays on to a lab for testing.

“I’m looking for answers, because I’m not smart enough to come up with them on my own,” Griffin said. “I would love someone to say, ‘We’ve done some tests and we’ve covered all of our bases — and, yes, it’s safe.’ That would be awesome. I would love to be proved wrong.”

The jury is still out on this one but to be safe, play on a natural playing field just to be safe

What Are Muscle “Knots” and How Should They Be Treated?

This is in response to an article I just read in the NY Times.

According to an article in the NY Times regarding muscle knots,  “no one knows definitively what muscle knots are made of.”

This article states that experts believe knots, are “specific areas of contraction within the muscle fiber,” (Rob Grieve, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England).

Mr. Grieve’s research results state that “the knots seem to develop when a muscle tenses repeatedly “and “are normally not caused by a specific, traumatic event,” “but by muscle overuse or faulty biomechanics.” (This is also known as slouching).

Mr. Grieve’s statement is something that I and many of my colleagues disagree with.  Knots have shown in several studies to be scar tissue and adhesions.  Knots can be caused by trauma, muscle overworking and strains. Over time these adhesions prevent muscles from contracting and stretching to their potential leading to discomfort and immobility. -Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article continues to state that “scientists from Australia and the United States pointed out that muscle knots rarely show up on scans, leaving researchers with “no scientific basis” for believing that knotted muscle fibers make us sore. Instead, the researchers contend, the soreness is likely neural, involving the brain and irritated nerve endings”.

Yes, the nerves are irritated along with the muscle fibers.  Doctors can feel such fibers and of course any soreness that is felt in the body is ALWAYS a nerve.  That is our sensory mechanism in our body!  Muscles move, they don’t send pain signals.  Nerves do!  That is why Chiropractors study them and understand how the brain, spinal cord and nerves work so that we can eliminate the cause of discomfort. – Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article goes on to say “Regardless of the possible cause, most therapists feel that the best treatment for purported muscle knots is to vigorously massage the sore spot or use a small, hard ball (such as those used for lacrosse) or a foam roller”.  – Well I do agree with that!  Finally!

Suggestions of injections were mentioned, but this is only a bandaid for the problem.  The pain will go away but continued usage of a body part that is injured will only lead to a long term problem that will not go away unless the CAUSE is treated.  Chiropractors find that cause and treat it allowing the body to heal without putting needles through your skin.  I think that is so much better than going and getting a shot every 3 months.

Chiropractors deal with sports injuries, car accidents and postural issues daily.  We can help people recover from muscle injuries and keep them functioning properly leading to a high quality of life.

Fantasy Football, Posture & Food

We all love fantasy football.  Now instead of one day of football we get three days a week!  That is great, but what that can lead to is eating junk, slouching on the couch for hours and enduring hours of stress hoping our player or team is gonna do well.

Please be mindful of posture during the games.  Slouching can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and low back pain to name a few.  A good thing to do is sit on a rolled up towel and put it right under your lower hip bone called your Ishial Tuberosity.  Make sure that you position it so your back is not slouched and it is easy for you to sit with good posture without forcing your back upright.  This will help you prevent postural issues that may come up after sitting for hours watching the game.

Now the other problem…food.  Here are a couple of dishes that can help you fill up and keep you healthy as well.

There are tons of vegetarian dishes out there online to help you eat healthier but for those of you who like meat and need something hot to fill you up during the game here are some tips:

1. Butternut Bacon Squash

2 1/2 lbs butternut squash
15 slices of bacon
Olive oil
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Salt
PepperPreheat the oven to 350 F.  Peel and trim the butternut squash.  Cut the squash into 1″ cubes (discard the seeds and pulp–makes about 30 cubes).  Place the squash in a bowl and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper–to taste.  Toss to coat.  Cut the bacon in half, width wise.  Wrap half a bacon slice around one squash cube and place, seal side down on a foil lined baking sheet.  Repeat for the reminder of the squash cubes.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip the bites over (careful not to unwrap the bacon) and bake for another 20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the bacon is cooked through.  If you want to bacon crispier, broil it for the last 3-5 minutes of baking (keep an eye on it).*You could also use toothpicks to seal the bacon, if necessary
2. Buffalo Egg Chicken Muffins
8 Eggs
6 oz. Chicken – Cooked and Chopped
¼ Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
3 Tbs. Buffalo Wing Sauce
2 Green Onions – Chopped
1 Rib Celery – Chopped
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
Sea Salt and Pepper – To Taste

(2 Tbs. Peace and Love)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350° Lightly oil a muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, fork whisk eggs.  To the eggs, add chicken, blue cheese crumbles, buffalo wing sauce, green onions, celery, garlic, sea salt and pepper.  Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour mixture into muffin tin.  This should be enough to fill 8 spots.

Bake 20 minutes or until fluffy and golden brown on top.

Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – 20 Minutes

Makes Servings: 4
This will not only be different than most party foods served but will help you eat healthier than chips and dip.
References:

Top 20 Paleo Super Bowl Recipes

 

Health Secrets From The Pro Athletes: What do they all have in common?

What do Evander Holyfield, the heavyweight champion of the world, John Smoltz, the 1996 Cy Young award winner and Dan O’Brien, the 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist in the decathlon have in common? What do they share in common with Marla Maples Trump, who can afford the best the world has to offer and James Earl Jones, the fine actor?

They all have been on the cover of Today’s Chiropractic Magazine sharing their excitement about the benefits of Chiropractic Wellness Care. Evander Holyfield stated in the December 1998 issue, “I do believe in Chiropractic. I found that going to a Chiropractor three times a week helps my performance. Once I drove 20 miles to see a Chiropractor before a fight. I have to have my adjustment before I get in the ring.”

Dan O’Brien said in the August 1996 issue, “you obviously can’t compete at your fullest if you’re not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about Chiropractic. I really think Chiropractic is essential in running. If I could put a percentage on it, I think I compete eight to ten percent better from regular Chiropractic use, if not more. It is essential for me and my training routine,” declared O’Brien.

Ten percent is a huge amount for an athlete or anyone for that matter. For Dan O’Brien, it would have been the difference between the gold medal and not even making the team.

A runner who runs a 10 second hundred meter dash may win a Olympic race, while an 11 second hundred couldn’t even qualify for the team. A 4.5 second 40 yard dash would make a fast running back, while a 5 second 40 yard dash would be an average time for a lineman. A baseball player batting .330 might win the batting title, while a player hitting .230 would get sent down to the minors.

Can you imagine if your entire life improved by ten percent? What if your energy, sleep, healing ability and immune function were all improved by 10%? How about a 10% improvement in hormonal balance and digestion efficiency? If your entire body was functioning ten percent better it would make a huge difference. You would enjoy a much happier, healthier, energetic life!

What is it that the pros know about wellness and Chiropractic that most people don’t know? Why do they receive Chiropractic Wellness Care to help them be their best and healthiest?

The first answer is that these people know health is not just how you feel. For example, they know that you can feel perfectly fine and still not be healthy.

Did you ever know someone who thought they were healthy and then all of a sudden had a heart attack? Do you know anyone who one day was fine and then , what seems like all of a sudden, got diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or a herniated disk?

These conditions take 10, 20, or 30 years before they show any outward symptoms that you or your doctor might be able to identify. However, what they will do is reduce your body’s function slowly over time, thereby limiting your health potential and quality of life.

This process happens so slowly over time that we accept these weaknesses as normal and go on with our life, never knowing what we are missing out on. Top athletes and performers are challenging their physical and mental limits every day, so they keep track of their function and performance in relation to their true wellness potential. Rather than waiting until they get sick or injured, they fine tune their body and mind all the time with Chiropractic Wellness Care.

Next, these top performers fully understand the relationship between their nervous system, and the function of every cell, tissue and organ of their body. Consider trying these simple interactive experiments.

Wiggle your fingers and toes. How did you do that? Your brain sent signals down your spinal cord telling your fingers and toes what to do. All motor function, all movement, is controlled by your nervous system including your balance and coordination.

Pull a hair on your arm, and then pull another one within an inch of the first. Do you feel the pulling in the same place each time, or a different place? You can feel the pulling in a different place because even every hair cell has its own distinct and unique nerve supply that is connected to the brain. All feeling and sensation is controlled by your nervous system.

How do you digest your food to get the maximum intake of nutrients your body needs to function properly? How does your heart know how fast to beat when you are exercising in order to supply appropriate oxygen to all the cells of your body? How does your body know what hormones to produce and when it’s time to go to the bathroom?

Every function of your body is controlled and regulated by your nervous system. Your brain takes in all the information from the environment and sends out signals which trigger the appropriate response by your body. As long as there is no interference to this system, the brain receives the correct signals and in turn sends out the correct response. The result is a healthy human being with unlimited abilities and human potential.

Unfortunately, if there is interference to this pathway, it acts like static on a telephone line and all the body functions become reduced. Dr. Chung Ha Suh, a researcher out of the University of Colorado, found that 45mm. of a mercury pressure, roughly the weight of a quarter, is enough to reduce the function of that nerve to 40 percent of its original value. We’ve already seen the significance of 10%, can you imagine the effect of 40%? Removing this interference is a serious health issue.

One person came in for Chiropractic care after not being adjusted for over a year. When confronted on the issue of wellness, he said, “I’m into wellness. I eat healthy and I exercise regularly.”. Unfortunately, his neck muscles had atrophied significantly and he had lost close to 50% of the range of motion in his neck. He had interference in his nervous system and didn’t know it until the damage was done.

This is not wellness. Random House Dictionary defines wellness as the fact or condition of being in maximum mental and physical health.

Chiropractic care is essential for wellness. Chiropractic removes interference from your nervous system so there is no static on your lines. Chiropractic Wellness Care keeps your spine and nervous system free from interference so that your body can function at its best all the time.

This is why top performers receive Chiropractic Wellness Care. Maria Maples Trump” has made her Chiropractic care a family priority. Her daughter gets adjusted and she has referred her husband, mother, chauffeur, nanny and personal assistant for care.”

You too can experience true health and wellness. Begin by making Chiropractic Wellness Care a part of your families life!

References: http://www.chiropracticresearch.org/

Some Jobs Are More At Risk For Back Problems

An article from the October 7, 2006 BBC News in the United Kingdom reports on a survey study listing the 5 top jobs most likely to cause back issues among workers in the United Kingdom. The list, compiled and published by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has some surprising findings. The study conducted by the BCA surveyed 2,374 people, found that 59% of the working population, in the top category at risk for back problems, sit down all day. Many of these people do not leave their desks even for a lunch break. This sedentary lifestyle coupled with positioning and long hours puts office workers at a higher risk than the excessive lifting and carrying done by those employed in manual jobs. The top five list as released by the British Chiropractic Association is as follows:

1. Office Worker – Long periods of time sitting in awkward positions, often slouched over computer keyboards, or maybe sitting at chairs not properly adjusted for their needs.

2. Nurse – Long shifts, often on their feet all day as well as lifting and carrying.

3. Driver – Hours a day spent at the wheel, sitting in a poor position, along with limited movement.

4. Laborer – Repeated strain from lifting heavy weights and often twisting in awkward positions.

5. Teacher & Nursery Staff – Continuously bending down to a child’s height and lifting children can cause back problems Dr. Tim Hutchful speaking for the BCA comments: “This survey has highlighted what we chiropractors have known for some time. Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll. It is assumed that those most at risk from back pain are the ones who have very physical jobs however, as this research has unveiled, whilst lifting and carrying are still common triggers for back pain, it is those with less physically demanding jobs and who are often seated for the majority of the day that could be most prone to back problems.”

According to the BCA, one third of UK citizens will suffer from some sort of back problem. Dr. Hutchful added: “For many who work in an office environment, it is the day-to-day, mundane routines that are at the root of most back problems. Hunching over computer keyboards and cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder can all contribute to lower back and neck stiffness, not to mention the fact that many office workers sit for hours at a time with very little movement.”

References: www.chiropracticresearch.org

Runners May Be In Great Shape, But They Are Prone To Injuries

By most estimates, nearly 70 percent of runners will become injured. While many of their injuries will appear minor, they can become more serious over time if not properly treated.

Running injuries may impact other areas of the body as well. Because I am an extremity expert as well as a chiropractor, I am trained to look at the body.   I want to identify the true source of the problem treat any malfunction in the body and develop a training or rehabilitation program to solve it.

Among the most common running-elated injuries are:

  • Runner’s Knee – This is the most common running-related injury. Known as patello-femoral pain, and sometimes diagnosed as chondromalacia of the patella, runner’s knee is essentially irritation of the cartilage of the kneecap. The condition results in pitting or fissuring of the cartilage to varying degrees. While running, various mechanical conditions may predispose runners to a poorly tracking kneecap. This can result in irritation and/or damage to the kneecap. Runners will notice pain near the kneecap, especially after sitting for extended periods of time with knees bent or while walking down stairs or downhill. Appropriate treatment involves eliminating or modifying activities that cause the pain; correcting improper biomechanics that allow the injury to arise; and avoiding positions that further irritate the condition, such as sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome – Symptoms of this syndrome include pain or aching on the outside of the knee, usually occurring in the middle or at the end of a run. When you flex and extend your knee, the iliotibial band, which runs along the outside of the thigh, can become irritated from repetitive rubbing over the outside of the knee. There are several causes of this syndrome, including weak gluteal muscles, bowed legs, over-pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, and running on uneven surfaces. Running on a circular track may also contribute to the problem. As with other running injuries, athletes should decrease their training regimen. In addition, they should also add stretches for the ouside of their thigh to their warm-up program, avoid running on uneven or circular track surfaces, and some should wear motion control running shoes.
  • Shin Splints – Also called medial tibial stress syndrome, “shin splints” refers to pain occurring in either the front or inside portions of the lower leg. Tenderness extends along the length of the lower leg at either of the surfaces. Those most at risk for shin splints are beginning runners who are not yet used to the stresses of running or who have not stretched or strengthened properly. To care for shin splints, runners should decrease their training, and begin with ice and rest, later adding strengthening of their lower leg muscles. They may use swimming and biking as alternative forms of exercise. If symptoms persist, runners should consult their physicians.
  • Achilles Tendinitis – The Achilles tendon is the connection between the heel and the muscles of the lower leg. Several factors contribute to the development of Achilles tendinitis, including excessive hill running, sudden increases in training, and improper shoes. One of the major factors is excessive tightness of the posterior muscles of the leg, including the calf muscles and the hamstrings. Runners with this condition should reduce their running. They can use ice and gentle stretching to reduce pain and tightness. If not treated properly, Achilles tendinitis can develop into a chronic problem.
  • Heel Pain (Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis) – The most common heel problems are caused by strain of the plantar fascia, which extends from the heel to the toes. Strain in this tissue can become very painful, especially with the first steps of the day. The condition can cause swelling at the origin of the plantar fascia at the heel. The pain is most noticeable when the foot flattens during weightbearing or when pushing off with the toes during walking or running, and it is usually located near the heel. The problems tend to occur in flat, flexible feet and in high arched, stiff feet. Left untreated, the pain can spread around the heel. Treatment should include a decrease in the intensity and duration of running workouts. Runners should also evaluate their running shoes for excessive wear and for proper fit. The wrong shoe for a foot type can worsen biomechanical flaws and cause plantar fasciitis.

Runners can take several precautions to prevent being sidelined because of an injury. While some of these steps might seem time-consuming or expensive, they are a good way to keep you on the right track.

  • Prepare for exercise/activities – Understand what muscle groups will be used and slowly start conditioning them by strengthening them. Talk with a PM&R physician to determine the appropriate type of exercises.
  • Properly stretch muscles before running – Muscles and joints need to warm up before beginning a run. Also be sure to allow for a “cooling down” period afterward.
  • Use an appropriate running shoe – There are several brands and models of running shoes. Make sure you are using the type best suited for your feet and your running style. Running shoes should also be replaced regularly. Consult a specialty running store to choose an appropriate shoe.
  • Incorporate hard days and easy days into your training program – Mileage should only be increased approximately 10 percent each week. Runners should make sure to decrease their mileage slightly every third week as a way to allow for recovery prior to additional mileage increases. Runners should also be patient with their development, being careful not to push themselves too far or too fast.
Some information provided by the 2012 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: http://www.aapmr.org/patients/conditions/msk/Pages/runfact.aspx