Distance Running – common injuries

ITB Friction Syndrome – this common running injury is often referred to as “runner’s knee” and affects the lateral (outside) aspect of the knee. Your ITB is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the hip down the outside of your leg and attaches just below your knee into your tibia. As you bend and straighten your knee, the ITB crosses over the lateral femoral condyle, the large bony promience right on the outside of your knee. With the highly repetitive action of running, the ITB can become inflammed or irritated by the constant rubbing against this bony prominence. People who have tightness in their ITB, along with biomechanical issues related to poor pelvic control and/or foot alignment are most at risk of developing the condition.

Patients typically describe pain on the outside of their knee, which is worse on walking or running down hill or stairs.

If you notice this pain post event, immediately ice the affected area, and  continue to do so over the next 48 hours. NSAID’s like Nurofen and Voltaren can help settle any inflammation. An assessment with your physio is important to firstly diagnose the condition. Treatment is then aimed not only at settling your current symptoms, but ensuring it doesn’t return when you next start running.

Achilles Tendinopathy – commonly known as achilles tendinitis, this condition is common after distance running events, particularly if the course has been hilly. It is characterised by tissue damage and/or inflammation of the achilles tendon, running up from your heel and attaching into your calf muscles. You will be more prone to achilles issues if you have alignment issues with your feet, particularly over-pronation (where your arch collapses and your foot rolls in on weight-bearing), tight calves or a toe-striking running technique (as opposed to the ideal mid-foot strike).

Pain will be felt in the back of your heel and may radiate up the length of your achilles into your calf. You may notice some swelling or thickening of the tendon and it will be painful to walk, particularly as you lift your heel to push off up onto your toes.

If you experience this pain, ice immediately and avoid prolonged walking. NSAID’s will help settle any inflammation. Avoid wearing very flat and unsupportive shoes, a shoe with a slight heel (but not your 10cm stilletos!) will help to take the pressure of your achilles. Again an assessment with your physio is important to accurately diagnose the condition and determine an appropriate course of treatment. Early intervention helps to quickly settle symptoms – so make an appointment within 24-48 hours of the condition presenting.

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