Top 3 solutions for common running injuries

So far with RunningPhysio we’ve written fairly lengthy posts on each injury with cause, solutions and rehab included. This post is a different approach, we are focussing much more just on what tends to help. So for each running injury we will offer 3 of the most effective treatments and a link to where we provide more info.

This stems, in part, from posting on Reddit, which has a great running Subreddit. Check it out here. It’s a running community where people post on a range of running topics. What I found people wanted wasnt necessarily lengthy explanations but solutions;

ITB Syndrome

1. Strengthen Gluteus Medius

  • Use sidelying abduction – 3 sets of 15-25 reps or to fatigue. Stop if painful. Rest for 1-2 minutes between sets. Can also be done with the lower leg bent. You should feel it in the side of the hip not down the leg.

Reproduced from Distefano et al. 2009.

2. Improve balance and eccentric quads control

  • Use controlled single knee dip. 3 sets 10-20 reps with a focus on control, rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Move the knee over the second toe. Only dip as far as comfortable.

3. Stretch the ITB

  • Use the “sofa stretch”. Hold for 30 seconds. 3-5 reps. Gradually work into the stretch. Don’t do if you have any history of dislocation of the patella or high levels of pain.

For more information on ITBS check here. This approach will often also work for patellofemoral pain.

Achilles Tendinopathy

1. Offload the Achilles

  • Use kinesiology tape. Can be used when running or for everyday use. Use it to help settle symptoms.

2. Strengthen the Achilles and calf complex

  • Use “heel drops” start on both legs, progress to single leg when comfortable. 3 sets of 15, twice per day.

From Alfredson et al. 1998

3. Stretch the calf muscles

  • Stretch gastrocnemius and soleus. 3-5 reps with 30 second hold. Once or twice per day.

From Roxas 2005

For more details on managing Achilles Tendinopathy check here.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

1. Stretch calf muscles (as above in Achilles Tendinopathy)

2. Offload Tibialis Posterior with orthotics to support the arch of the foot.

3. Strengthen Tibialis Posterior

  • Use “eccentric” exercise; 3 sets of 15 reps. Rest for 1-2 minutes between each set, twice per day.

More details on managing Poserior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction here.

Plantar Fasciitis

1. Stretch calf muscles (as above)

2. Stretch the mid foot over a cold or frozen bottle/ can (beware of ice burn doing this).

From Roxas 2005

Place a gentle pressure down on the can/ bottle stretching the middle of the foot and roll it backwards and forwards for approximately 5-10 minutes. Stop if too painful.

3. Specific stretch for the plantar fascia

From Digiovanni et al. 2003

Cross the leg of the affected side over the other leg. Grasp the toes and stretch the toes upward as shown in the photo. You can also feel along the plantar fascia with your fingers to make sure the area is under tension. The link above has more details on this. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times. Do 3 times per day, including before you take your first steps in the morning.

A more detailed plantar fasciitis blog will be coming to RunningPhysio soon.

The reps and sets described above are based on research but they are approximate. Stop if the exercises are increasing your pain.

If this approach doesn’t work for you, you may need to address the underlying cause. Check out the links for details on how to do this, and as ever if in doubt, get it checked out!



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