How to treat Shin Splints
Written by Sundial Clinics Wednesday, 17 July 2013 12:49
Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is easy to treat if the problem is caught early. If symptoms of pain along the inner border of the shin bone (tibia) goes on for too long then significant damage can occur to the muscle and bone bone coverings and the condition becomes chronic. Brighton physio, here at Sundial, James Masterson explains.
What can I do to help myself?
Rest and ice - Ice can be an extremely effective pain relief for shin splints as it acts as a local anesthetic by numbing sore muscle tissue. It also helps to slow down the inflammation and swelling process which occurs with injury.
Take down inflammation – Anti inflammatory medication may help to reduce any swelling and speed up your recovery time. Please consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Wear appropriate footwear!! - It may be beneficial to visit a specialist running shop where you can be advised about what might suit your needs. On average running shoes should be replaced when worn for between 300 and 600 miles, depending on factors such as body weight, running style and training surface. In some cases orthotics (inner soles) may be used to help abnormal loading throughout your lower limb and correct issues such as over-pronation and supination. More information on orthotics here.
What can the physio’s at Sundial do to help?
The first stages of rehabilitation may include advice to rest from aggravating activity for a while. We can give you ice packs to use of the first 2 day after the pain starts or is aggravated by the offending activity. We will help you switch to low impact exercise such as swimming and cycling and advise on how best to incorporate changes to maintain strength and fitness. Only in extreme cases is protected weight bearing necessary.
An important part of the recovery process is assessment of foot alignment and walking/running analysis to highlight any potential problems. Advice on appropriate footwear and the
In more severe cases our physio care involves laser therapy which improves healing, reduces pain and takes down inflammation. Soft tissue techniques such as massage may also help to ease tight muscles associated with shin splints or MTSS. application of inner soles may also be of benefit. We are experts in this sort of advice and work with local running shops to get the best footwear for you.
We will also advise on a home exercise plan consisting of stretching, balance and strength exercises to help too. This is an important part of your recovery along with a graded return to activity with symptom free progression.
Knee pain in runners: the 2 most common causes
Written by Sundial Clinics Thursday, 26 April 2012 10:56
Knee pain running is common. With the marathons in London and Brighton we’ve seen an increase in people coming into our clinics with knee pain associated with running. The 2 most common causes of knee pain in runners are “Runners knee” and ITB syndrome. In this posting we’ll talk about runners knee pain, what it is and how to treat it. Next we’ll do the same for ITB syndrome.
“Runners knee pain” is more correctly termed patella femoral syndrome and can affect as many as 1 in 4 runners. The symptoms are typically pain under the knee cap and around the front of the knee and used to be called chondromalacia patella.
Anything where the leg is bending and straightening can become painful, particularly when weight bearing, and there may be creaking or cracking under the knee cap, a symptom termed crepitus. Of course running, particularly once milage when training for a longer distance event is increased is a common cause. Aggravating factors also include going up and down stairs, running, in particular up or down hill, leg extensions/quad strengthening in the gym, often sitting for a prolonged times at work or in the car for instance.
Cause of Runners Knee Pain
The causes of runners knee are related to the anatomy of the area. The underside of the patella (kneecap) has a ridge which slides along a narrow groove in the femur (thigh bone). Every time you bend and straighten your knee the patella slides up and down the groove. Trouble can start when your kneecap moves out of its track or groove and rubs up against its sides causing friction. This is called patella misalignment or maltracking. That it becomes painful when you run is not surprising when you realise that there are on average nearly 1000 steps per mile.
Common things that can cause misalignment and how to fix them are:
- Quadriceps imbalance: This is perhaps the most common cause of runner’s knee. The quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh is made up of four parts and running strengthens the outer part more than the middle part, thus the patella is pulled out of alignment. This usually resolved with some specific rebalancing exercises for the muscle group.
- Foot instability: Often your feet imbalanced every time they hit the ground, and you’re feeling the constant pounding and repetition of this mistake in your knee. Over pronating, which means your foot is rolling in too much when you run, is the most common type of this, something that is often associated with fallen foot arches. A combination of orthotics (these are special insoles; at Sundial we use Superfeet orthotics) for your running shoe and exercises is usually enough to rebalance and stabilise the foot. You should also have your running analysed to make sure your shoe is the suitable for you. For more on orthotics and running go here.
- Tight muscles at the back of the calf or thigh: If the calf muscles are tight the foot will have to pronate further when running or walking causing an increase in rotation at the lower leg bones, if the hamstrings are tight when running or walking the knee is not fully straightened, this also means the foot has to roll more into pronation. Both of these can cause patella misalignment and are treated with specific stretches and rebalancing exercises.
- Gluteus medius weakness: One of the muscles that make up the buttock, it often relatively weak in runners. If the gluteus medius is not strong enough the upper leg rotates inwards and causes an unequal pull of the patella over its groove. Again, some specific strengthening and stretching exercises usually resolve this.
In addition to the specific treatments for each cause there are a few other things which also help resolve runners knee.
- Ice: Wrap a cold packs around each knee, with the pack at the front for about ten minutes, a few times a day to bring down the swelling. Make sure the cold pack is wrapped in a thin cover to avoid cold burns!
- Rest: Not what a runner wants to hear close to an event, but where possible, stopping or decreasing your running will help then problem settle whilst treatment takes effect.
- Laser treatment: This is useful in reducing the inflammation around the patella and encouraging faster healing
- Taping: Specific taping techniques, particularly kinesio or Rock taping, something our physio Quentin specialises in, can help straighten the pull of the patella
- Running/gait analysis: Many running shoe shops offer this and it’s a good way of screening your running for problems and also seeing if your shoes are suitable for you
If you would like a check to see if you have runners knee then call us for our free Runners MOT with our physios or chiropractors.Learn More
How to prevent running injuries? – Runners MOT
Written by Sundial Clinics Friday, 10 February 2012 12:02
Knee pain, muscle strain, tendon pulls, bursitis, ligament sprains and all sorts of other aches and pains are a constant reminder that marathon training and actually running it can be a hazardous business. One in five people who enter for the Brighton Marathon will not complete it because of injury. We aim make sure you are not one of them.
For the next few weeks we are offering a free Runners MOT especially aimed at runners in the Brighton Marathon and the half marathon. We want you to be fit, strong and ready to run.
Our physios will check you out top to bottom concentrating on your footwear and leg and foot movements. We will check all the usual things like over-pronation but also things that often over-looked like jamming of the hinge joint of the ankle which changes stride length. We will look at knees, hips and backs too. At the end of our Runners MOT you will have an in depth risk profile of the likelihood of future running injuries and a plan for prevention.
So don’t let a niggle turn into a pain, call to make an appointment.Learn More
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