Treating Running Injuries with
Physical therapy is an effective method to treat different
types of running or sports related injuries.
Running is considered as one of the most effective ways to
maintain physical health, but this high physically
demanding activity that can cause injuries and pain as well.
Fortunately, physical therapy is ideal to treat many kinds of
injuries caused by running.
Common Running Injuries that Physical Therapy
Running helps reduce body fat by burning extra calories,
strengthens the knees and other joints, improves lungs
function, and stimulates the muscles and heart to work
more efficiently. Physical therapy programs can help
address the following types of running injuries:
• Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome (PFSS) – PFSS or
runners’ knee occurs when the cartilage on the inner
surface of the kneecap frequently rubs against the
inner knee joint and thigh bone. Pain is felt in the back
of the knee cap.
• Piriformis Syndrome – The piriformis is a muscle
situated in the gluteal region. Common symptoms of
piriformis syndrome include soreness on the buttocks
• Ankle Sprain – This injury is caused when one of the
three ligaments supporting the ankle gets stretched or
• Shin Splints - This results in pain along the tibia or
shin bone, the large bone in the front of the lower leg.
• Plantar Fasciitis – Also called “joggers feet”, this
injury causes pain in the arch of the foot due to tight
calf muscles or impaired foot motion while running.
• Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) – This type of
injury occurs when too much friction is exerted on the
iliotibial band, a ligament running along the outside of
the thigh and stabilizing the knee. Symptoms include
thickening of the tissue and inflammation.
• Bursitis – Runners often get hip or knee bursitis due
to the inflammation of a bursa, a small sac of synovial
fluid between the hip and the tendon. It can cause
swelling, redness and pain.
Some of the common causes of running injuries include
running while wearing the wrong size or type of shoes,
immediate modification in running speed, inadequate
stretching, quick modification in running speed, and so
on. Complete recovery from a serious running injury
requires considerable physical and mental strength.
How Physical Therapy Helps
At a comprehensive healthcare center, physical therapy
services for running injuries would cover a variety of
exercises as well as possible pain management protocols.
While treating an injured runner, the physical therapist
begins by conducting a detailed physical evaluation and
assessment of the type of injury. Questions may be asked
about the patient’s running habits, routine, equipment and
techniques so that suitable modifications can be suggested.
Gait analysis is performed to identify problems that can be
addressed through a change in running habits. Physical
therapy treatment may include:
• Exercises to stretch and strengthen the hamstring,
quadriceps, hip muscles and feet
• Heat and ice applications for pain and inflammation
• Soft tissue massage to treat pain
• Manual treatment techniques to address restrictions of
joint structures and soft tissue
• Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
• Pain management sessions
The patient may be advised to refrain from running for
some time or to modify the running program. The physical
therapist would also provide advice to prevent recurrence,
including before and after running workouts to help the
body adapt to the demands of running.
Posted by HealthQuest