Recover From Your Running Injuries Faster...

There are many running injuries that develop from that repetitive movement. Many of these we know intimately...first hand, in fact! There are foot issues like plantar fasciitis, moving up the leg... patellar tendonitis which causes pain around the knee, Piriformis Syndrome which is your typical pain in the butt, and shin splints are my personal favorites! Particularly posterior-in the back of the shin bone, which is what I had during my marathon training and is the most difficult to reach, due to the muscle tissue depth.

Many running injuries are caused by over training...but I BET you didn't know that. Some of the hints that can help you avoid some running injuries (you won't hear us say not run, but you need to listen to your physician, if that is the medical advice!) or can help to assist in healing are:

1) Avoid running on concrete when you can-many new runners aren't aware that concrete is harder than black top...if you have a choice-a packed dirt trail is the best on your body, next is black top and LAST and most unforgiving on your body is concrete. Sidewalk running just causes excess stress on your body over time, so try to work in other surfaces.

2) Be sure to have adequate cushion and support in your shoes. There are inserts which can help your shoes to last longer or offer a bit more support.

3) To avoid creating more tension, and possibly running injuries, establish some kind of stretching routine. The prime 'running movers' we tend to see repetitive issues with are the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. This stretching sheet is one we give to running and walking clients when they need some stretching suggestions.Right-Click here to download the GTS Massage Stretches for Runners PDF file. (or just click to view in another window.)

4) Try an alternative to sitting all day at a desk. This can make you more prone to running injuries like hamstring or quadricep pulls, or low back discomfort during a run. The reason for this is that these muscles all get shortened from sitting for long periods, so whether massage or stretching, they need to be lengthened out a bit. Moving around as often as you can helps, and some people can set up a desk at counter height or higher, so they can stand up straight while working for a bit.

5) Give yourself a day off from running here and there. Allowing your muscles to experience a different kind of movement through cross-training helps the muscle fibers of the running muscles to heal, so that there isn't a cumulative tearing of the fibers that causes long-term running injuries.

6) Massage. There are few things out there which will reduce your chances of running injuries more than massage work on the target running muscles. Having a sports massage therapist with experience in sports injuries will help to possibly prevent or alleviate some of the developing tension patterns in your body, and allow your running to continue happily and painlessly, all the way to the finish line.

BUT, if you happen to end up with a running injury, these are some things to know:

1) Ice or Heat?New, acute running injuries (or other injuries) can be inflamed further by adding heat to it. It's already inflamed, so normally we will use ice to help decrease inflammation. For an injury a little older (more than 48 hours), with no inflammation, you can try a contrast bath (interchanging hot and cold every 10-15 minutes is the common advice). For a chronic muscle ache, generally moist heat will relieve it, by increasing circulation and softening the muscle. However, cold will also act as a flush to the area. Cold sends the old blood out of the area, then allows a fresh flow of new blood to circulate. General therapy rules are not to apply either hot or cold for longer than 15 or 20 minute lengths of time. Please also note that with aching, chronic muscle pain, there is likely another group of muscles causing strain on the symptomatic, those would need to be stretched (or massaged!) to get significant relief.

2) To Stretch or Not To StretchThis is a tough one...except that with a new injury (specifically a muscle tear), you are at a higher risk of re-injuring it within the first two weeks, as the tissue may not be completely healed depending on the grade of the strain (muscle tear). Listening to your body will give you a good sense of what is going too far, but seeing your doctor will, of course, be necessary if the injury is severe. With a chronic running injury, a stretch may be just what is needed to alleviate the pressure within the muscle. The general rule is a 45-90 second gentle stretch will allow the fibers in the muscle to really let go. The reason for this amount of time is to work with the protective mechanism in your muscles. This mechanism is made up of the small sensors in your muscle, (for those who want the technical terms they are called the muscle spindles ) which reflexively make your muscle contract to keep you from causing damage. It's quite the extraordinary process...just means you get to breathe and take your time in a stretch to make it work. 3) Do I train through it?This is the question we hear all the time with running injuries. The RICE (Rest/Ice/Compression/Elevation) has been switched to ICE as of a couple of years ago. You've probably heard about how doctors want their patients to move as soon as possible after many surgical procedures now as well. The general thought is unless it is an acute injury, gentle movement will help to flush out swelling, and reduce scar tissue. You and your doctor will need to make the call with new injuries. Many times with chronic muscle injuries, some movement helps by bringing circulation to the area ...but that may not mean inducing the same strain of sports on it. Maybe a swim or yoga class or something that uses your muscle groups differently than a single sport you have forced those muscles to endure over and over and over again. You know who you are...

Tight Hamstrings and All the Trouble They Cause
Patellar Tendonitis
Piriformis Syndrome-A Real Pain in the Butt
Mid Back Pain
Calf Stretches and Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
Checklist for Health Desk Posture
Common Causes of Back Pain
Return to Fort Collins Massage from Running Injuries

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