Hamstring pain and injury can be caused by lack of flexibility or strength, or much like the Achilles, it can often be a matter of too much too soon. Hamstring strains are common and they can take a long time to heal. Re-injury is common also, particularly if the return to running is rushed or if you haven’t had treatment or rehabilitation when required for the initial injury.
If you struggle with aching or tightness in the back of your legs when you run, try to ease it with a slower pace or a shorter stride before building back up. If you hear a pop or a snap, or there’s a visible bruise, there is clearly a tissue injury and you should probably have it seen to by your osteo.
Although hamstring issues can be recurrent, if you take all the usual steps but continue to struggle, or your pain or cramping extends below the knee, you could have a nerve irritation. The sciatic nerve runs through the back of the thigh with the hamstrings and it’s another common cause of thigh pain. If you’re not sure what’s going on, again you should probably have it seen to by your osteo. We’ll be able to work out what is going on and get you on track to recovery.
This is another common injury that involves micro tears and inflammation in the support ligaments of the foot. This often results in pain that might feel like a dull ache or bruise along your arch or heel. Seek treatment if you’re having sharp foot pain when you first get out of bed, walking around after sitting for a bit or at the very start of a run. It may disappear after that, but again this is an area that can be prone to persistent pain so you’ll want to get on top of it as soon as possible.
Much like the hamstrings in the thigh – the plantar fascia is not the only thing in the foot so if it’s failing to resolve, it’s definitely worth considering the nerves in the area. What starts out as a plantar fascia injury, common continues as a chronic nerve sensitivity.
Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
Your IT band connects your hip to knee and shin, it’s a really thick and strong band of fascia that probably gets blamed for a heap more problems than it actually creates. Nonetheless, when the ITB gets irritated, runners (and often cyclists) experience pain around the outside of the knee. There’s a lot of overlap with Runner’s knee so the two are often confused.
ITB or lateral knee pain, that isn’t traumatic, is more often than not a load management issue, so again – work with a therapist or trainer who can help you maximise your efficiency and manage your training volume and progression.
This usually presents as an achy pain down your shins that comes on with activity and when persistent, can also be referred to as “medial tibial stress syndrome”. This sort of issue can range from being quite minor and short lived to quite severe, when not managed well. The initial injury is often a mild soft tissue inflammation but when recurrent this inflammatory process can effect the neighbouring bone, resulting in bony stress. When unmanaged, this bony stress can progress to a stress fracture so, see your osteopath before it gets to that.
With shin splints you can typically walk and even jump without pain, but there’s a tightness and ache that develops around your shin when you run and it’s usually more pronounced when there’s any incline. A dull ache may then persist after your training and it may be tender to touch and/or walk. If the pain persists into the night, you’re likely to be in bone stress territory and you should definitely get it seen to.
Often considered the most serious of all the typical running injuries, unrelenting bony stress can sometimes accumulate and degrade bone to produce a structural fracture. The repetitive impact of running means loading volume accumulates easily and sometimes this leads to shin, heal and foot fractures. Stress fractures are different to acute fractures that happens in a single traumatic event, stress fractures accumulate gradually over time, which means they can be prevented. Like any progressive injury, it’s important to listen to your pain and respond early—an osteopath can help make sure you’re on track to prevent or recover from stress fractures caused by running.
If you’re a runner with pain, or would like to be a runner but pain is stopping you – book an appointment with one of our osteopaths. If you’re not sure we can help you, we’ll happily do a 15 minute assessment free of charge so we can be sure we’re not wasting your time or money.