Running is an excellent form of exercise that offers numerous benefits for our physical and mental well-being. It improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles and bones, and boosts overall fitness. However, pain while running can be common, hampering enjoyment and progress. If you're experiencing pain during your runs, it's crucial to identify the underlying causes and seek appropriate care. The Physiotherapists at Back in Motion Brighton aim to shed light on the potential causes of running-related pain and explain how Physiotherapy can effectively address these issues.
So why do we experience pain when running?
One of the primary culprits behind running-related pain is overuse injuries. These injuries occur when you push your body beyond its limits without allowing for sufficient recovery time. Common overuse injuries in runners include:
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Physiotherapy plays a vital role in managing overuse injuries by assessing your biomechanics, developing an individualized treatment plan, and guiding you through exercises to strengthen weak muscles, improve flexibility, and promote proper running technique.
Muscular imbalances refer to the unequal strength or flexibility between opposing muscle groups. These imbalances can alter your running mechanics, leading to pain and discomfort. For example, weak hip muscles or tight hamstrings can contribute to knee pain or hip bursitis.
How can Physiotherapy help?
We can conduct a thorough assessment to identify muscular imbalances and prescribe targeted exercises to rebalance your muscle strength and flexibility. Additionally, we may use manual therapy techniques such as massage, mobilisation, or stretching to alleviate tension and promote tissue healing.
Running with improper form can put excessive stress on joints and muscles, leading to pain and injury. Factors such as excessive heel striking, overstriding, or a lack of core stability can contribute to these issues. Physiotherapists are skilled at analyzing your running gait and can provide valuable insights into correcting your form. We may prescribe specific exercises to improve your posture, strengthen your core, and help you achieve a more efficient running technique, reducing the risk of pain and enhancing performance.
The footwear and equipment you use while running can significantly impact your running experience. Wearing worn-out shoes or using inappropriate equipment can lead to biomechanical issues and pain. We can suggest suitable running shoes that offer adequate support, cushioning, and stability based on your foot type and running style. Additionally, we can advise you on other essential equipment, such as custom orthotic inserts, compression gear, or taping techniques, to optimize your comfort and minimize the risk of pain and injury.
Failing to warm up properly before a run or neglecting post-run recovery can contribute to pain and injury. Warm-up exercises are essential to prepare your muscles and joints for the physical demands of running, while adequate cool-down and dynamic stretching routines aid in reducing muscle soreness and promoting recovery. We can guide you through a tailored warm-up and cool-down program and provide advice on foam rolling and stretching exercises to optimize your recovery. We can also provide at-home aids such as a spikey ball to help ease your muscles.
Pain while running should not be ignored, as it can impede progress and lead to more severe injuries. Physiotherapy is a valuable resource for runners, offering expert guidance in identifying the causes of pain and implementing effective treatment strategies. By addressing issues such as overuse injuries, muscular imbalances, incorrect running form, footwear concerns, and inadequate warm-up and recovery, Physiotherapy empowers you to continue enjoying your runs pain-free and achieve your fitness goals. Remember, seeking professional help early on can help prevent chronic pain and promote long-term running success.
Written by Mark Griffiths
Physiotherapist, Back In Motion Brighton