Imagine we are now four weeks out from a marathon (or 5k, 10k or half marathon). By now you had better be in a regular pattern of training and recovery. Most of us do well when it comes to the training aspect but recovery on a whole is not always given the importance that it’s due. The consequences of an inadequate recovery following training are injuries that can sometimes put all your hard work at jeopardy and lead to extended periods of time on the side line. Today I want to introduce the 5 most common injuries I see with long distance runners – and provide you with more detail about one of them. Most of these are avoidable and if addressed early can be managed effectively reducing any unwanted time off training.
We’ve all heard of shin splints, and for the unlucky ones who have suffered from shin splints can vouch that they are not pleasant. Shin splints in their most literal form are stress fractures of the medial aspect of our tibia (inside lower leg bone). In most cases shins splints are a result of a tight or weak soleus muscle (one of the calf muscles on the inside of our lower leg) tibialis posterior and tibialis anterior muscles (the muscles on the front and the back of the tibia) and flexor hallicus longus (the muscle that flexes our big toe). All these muscles have a role in the control of the foot and ankle.
- Usually shin splints are caused by a bio-mechanical issue such as over pronation or supinating (rolling in or out too much).
- They can also be due to increasing the amount or speed of your runs too quickly.
- Inadequate stretching of the calf muscles both before and after training
- Poor or inadequate footwear
Shin splints start as a dull ache, and can usually be run through, as the muscle starts to get tighter and tighter they begin to pull off the bone, eventually the bone starts to have a reaction and there is pain and tenderness to touch. By this stage the process is already underway. Don’t wait until this point before seeking treatment. If you are noticing a dull ache in you shins before or after your runs which is not being relieved with stretching make an appointment with one of our expert physiotherapists who will be able to provide you with the most appropriate treatment, looking at muscle length and strength, foot biomechanics and assessing your running footwear.
Coming soon –
- ITB friction Syndrome
- Patella-femoral pain
- Stress fracture in the foot
You might also want to look at our post on plantar-fasciitis.
Jude Holroyd is the Principal Physiotherapist at our Jordan Springs practice.