Running injuries are seldom the result of an acute or sudden event. Instead, they are usually the result of cumulative micro-trauma also known as repetitive overuse injuries.
Sixty-five percent of all runners experience a running injury in a given year according to Runner’s World. Common running injuries that may require the attention of a physical therapist include:
- Calf (gastrocnemius/soleus) strains
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hip bursitis
- Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
- Patellofemoral pain (kneecap problems)
- Shin splints
- Hamstrings strains
- Tibialis posterior tendonitis
A Thorough Physical Therapy Evaluation is Where Treatment Begins
Runners can suffer from a variety of injuries and there are numerous reasons why a runner might be experiencing pain. The first thing your physical therapist will do is perform an evaluation. his consists of the following:
- Your past medical history
- Your current complaints
- What makes the problem better and worse
- Any past or present treatment
Then a thorough physical exam is performed including:
- Foot, knee, hip, pelvis mechanics
- Observation and analysis of your running style (gait analysis)
- Examination of your footwear and any orthoses if used
How a Physical Therapist can Help
Physical therapists can help runners recover from injuries as well as decrease the chance that they will return. Improving the following can be of assistance:
- Running technique
- Thigh and calf strength
- Hip/core stability
- Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf flexibility
- Foot mechanics (decreasing excess pronation)
- Shock absorption
- Training strategies (frequency, training time, distance, environment)
Conservative care for running injuries is important. Runners that push through pain can cause long-lasting injuries that may limit training and performance. Seeing a physical therapist that is training in the evaluation and treatment of running injuries can help.
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Return to Sports
Need Help Recovering from a Sports Injury? Looking to Improve Your Sports Performance?
Sports Therapy is the Right Choice
Sports Therapy or sports physical therapy is a specialized area of physical therapy that deals with both acute, chronic, and repetitive injuries in professional, collegiate, high school and recreational athletes. Practice includes the thorough evaluation, treatment, transition back to sport, prevention, and performance enhancement programs.
Often, sports therapists work with post-surgical athletes to help them recover their strength, range of motion, and activities of daily living. To accomplish this sports therapy specialists use techniques such as:
- Manual Therapy (specialized hands-on techniques to facilitate movement, and functional control)
- Therapeutic Exercise - from active range of motion (simply working against gravity) to advanced resistance protocols, sports therapists help an athlete recover the necessary strength to compete in their given sport.
- Heat, ice, taping techniques, and electrical stimulation
- Functional Retraining - all sports require specialized balance, movement patterns, and dynamic flexibility and stability. Sports therapy includes retraining the athlete in their given area of interest or excellence. Examples include helping pitchers recover their throwing mechanics. Assisting football players in cutting, catching, throwing, and backpedaling. Helping basketball players recover the jumping, shuffling, and shooting mechanics.
- Dynamic Strength & Endurance Training - most sports require endurance, balance, and a short burst of intense strength output. In the later stages of rehabilitation of athletes, sports therapists transition players to advanced conditioning programs that closely replicate their experience on the court or playing field.
Sports therapists often provide interventions and recommendations to assist athletes with prevention. This may include pre-participation evaluations, equipment advice, conditioning programs (e.g. ACL injury prevention) and cardiorespiratory conditioning programs that are constructed to assist athletes in a safe transition back to sport.
Sports Performance Programs
After a thorough evaluation of an athlete's strength, neuromuscular coordination, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness, the sports therapist will develop a sports performance training plan to help the athlete achieve their performance goals. Programs are tailored to specific sporting demands and provided to the athlete as a training regime (plan of action); or the sports therapist may coach and guide the athlete through a performance program on a several times/week basis again, depending on the athlete's goals and needs.
If You Or Your Teen Athlete Want to Speed Up Recovery, or Maximize Sports Performance, We Can Help.
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