Common Muscular-Skeletal conditions affecting runners

Common Muscular-Skeletal conditions affecting runners. By Alex Prince

Shin Splints

This is characterised by pain and inflammation in the lower leg where muscles attach to the Tibial bone.

Cause: Usually brought on by exercise, often sudden changes in training, either in distance or intensity. Changes in running surface can also affect this. Also worn out foot wear or inappropriate footwear can exacerbate this condition.

What to do? Firstly rest and ice pack the area. You may even need further medication to help reduce the inflammation.

This condition can be very painful and will worsen if you continue to exercise on it…so don’t try to train on.

Although some mild cases clear up with rest and self-help, most conditions will need some treatment from a musculo-skeletal therapist (Osteopath or Physiotherapist). Shin splints should be differentiated from more severe conditions such as stress fractures and compartments syndrome. If you are unsure it is best to let a therapist confirm the diagnosis.

Recovery time varies hugely from 2/3 weeks in mild cases to several months if severe.

Ilio-Tibial band syndrome

The is characterised by pain in the lateral (outside) thigh, sometimes up as far as the hip, and can also give pain on the lateral side of the knee. This is usually brought on or aggravated by running.

Cause: By excessive tension building up in this band which runs from the hip down to the knee. This can happen for several reasons, it may be as simple as overtraining or it can occur due to more complex biomechanical reasons. In which case a proper diagnosis is important.

What to do? Firstly rest. If the condition has occurred solely due to too much training then it will settle in a day or two. A deep massage (although uncomfortable) will help resolve it quickly.

If the symptoms persist then you should consult a Physiotherapist or Osteopath for a diagnostic assessment. They may well be able to identify and resolve an underlying or more complex biomechanical problem.

Muscular Pain

Muscular pain during and after running can be due to many reasons.

Often however it is due to an increase in training distance or intensity, or over training.

-Muscle tightness can often be avoided by adequate stretching. Stretching is generally considered to be most useful post-exercise, while the muscles are still warm. Muscles can however, tighten up for many reasons. It can be due to biomechanical problems, so ongoing muscular issues should be investigated by an Osteopath or Physiotherapist

-DOMS (delayed onset muscle stiffness) is post exercise soreness which can take up to 48 hours to subside. Usually after a hard training session/race or exercising after a long lay-off. Massage and good hydration and nutrition can help prevent and ease this condition.

-Sharp or intense muscular pain whilst running should not be ignored. This could be a muscle tear which may will need rest and ice immediately, and treatment asap.

-Cramp often occurs due running. Staying well hydrated and keeping your electrolytes balanced is an  important way to prevent cramp. Stretching and rest will help relieve it.

Persistent muscular/ skeletal problems should be properly assessed.

Here at MOTI we have an Osteopath and Physiotherapist who are both experienced in assessing, diagnosing and treating biomechanical / sports related injuries.

If you are unsure as to whether you need treatment why not book an “open clinic” with one of them. This is a Free, 15 minute assessment of your problem when they will be able to advise you on the best way to manage your condition, and whether you need further assessment and treatment.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s