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On The Run: Tackling Common Running Injuries and Effective Rehab Exercises

Hello, fellow runners!

I'm Dr. Nicholas Giovas, head osteopath at Matrix Health & Performance in East Ivanhoe. Today, let's talk about something that is close to the heart of every runner - running injuries. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just lacing up your running shoes, knowing how to deal with common running injuries is essential. Let's dive into what these injuries are, and some rehab exercises to get you back on track.

Common Running Injuries

  1. Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome): Characterised by pain around the kneecap, this injury is often caused by overuse, muscle imbalances, or inadequate stretching.

  2. Shin Splints: This involves pain along the shinbone and is common among those who have recently intensified or changed their training routines.

  3. Achilles Tendinitis: This occurs when the Achilles tendon is stressed, causing pain in the back of the ankle.

  4. Plantar Fasciitis: This is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue at the bottom of your foot, causing heel pain.

  5. IT Band Syndrome: This involves pain on the outside of the knee and is often due to tightness of the band of tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh.

Rehab Exercises to Complete

Now that we’ve looked at the common injuries, let’s discuss some rehab exercises that can be incorporated into your recovery routine.

For Runner's Knee:

  • Quad Stretches: Stand on one foot and bring your other foot up towards your buttocks. Hold onto your ankle and feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.

  • Hip Strengthening: Lie on your side and lift your top leg up and down. This helps in strengthening the hip, which supports the knee.

For Shin Splints:

  • Calf Raises: Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Lower your heels down and then raise them up to the starting position. This helps in strengthening the muscles around the shin.

  • Toe Curls: While sitting, place a towel on the floor under your feet. Use your toes to scrunch the towel towards you.

For Achilles Tendinitis:

  • Eccentric Heel Drops: Stand on a step with the balls of your feet. Slowly lower your heels down below the step and then rise back up.

  • Ankle Flexibility: Use a resistance band around your foot and push against it in different directions.

For Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Foot Rolling: Roll your foot over a tennis ball or frozen water bottle.

  • Toe Stretch: Sit with one leg crossed over the other and pull your toes back towards your shin.

For IT Band Syndrome:

  • IT Band Stretch: Stand tall, cross one leg behind the other. Lean towards the side of your back leg.

  • Clamshells: Lie on your side with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your feet touching, lift your top knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis.

A Word on Prevention and Consultation

Always remember, “Prevention is better than cure”. Ensure you have a proper warm-up before running, follow a balanced training program, and listen to your body.

The general exercises listed about can help most people, however, it's vital to consult a professional for personalised advice and treatment. At Matrix Health & Performance in East Ivanhoe, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your running goals while ensuring your body is in top shape. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help with injury management or prevention strategies.

Happy running! Stay safe and take care.

Dr. Nicholas Giovas (Osteopath)

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