Anyone that is a “runner” knows how much it stinks when you catch the injury bug. Many of these injuries can be prevented, but if one of the following sounds familiar, see your local doctor, physical therapist, running store etc…and address the issue as soon as possible.
What is it: In the hip joint, where the femur articulates with the hip – that’s called the femoral acetabulum. There’s cartilage in the joint for smooth motion, a suction effect, and some load transfer. If one or both of the surfaces of the bones is misshapen or doesn’t match up to the other side, the joint won’t move smoothly and can grind away at the cartilage. This can also happen artificially if muscles that move the hip are tight, causing an asymmetrical grinding of the joint.
Where it hurts: It’s typically a deep rear glute pain that can radiate throughout the hip. It may feel painful to sit, climb stairs, or cross your legs, and may hurt when squatting or lunging.
Why it happens: It can be a muscular imbalance that does not support the joint, or a congenital malformation.
How to rehab it: Rest and rehab work can help overcome this issue. The rehab work can include stretching, strengthen and soft-tissue work. The grinding can cause inflammation so if it is not addressed, the issue can get worse and possibly turn into a tear.
What you should’ve done before you got injured: If there is a malformation then there is nothing you could have done. Strength training and rest are two of the best things you can do to avoid this injury.
Gluteus Medius Tendinosis
What it is: Inflammation of the gluteus medius muscle
Where it hurts: Usually the lateral side of the hip when you’re standing or stepping on the affected leg. It can also feel tender along the sacrum. As you jump from one leg to the other, one hip may drop and not remain level.
Why it happens: Lack of strength in the glutes and core. Body mechanics may also become out of whack when you are running which could cause various muscles to worker harder than they should.
How to rehab it: Work on your running form, strengthen your hip, glute, and core. Single leg squats etc… are great for this.
What you should’ve done before you got injured: Working on strong hips, glutes, and core. Running drills to ensure you are running properly as well.
Stress Fracture or Reaction
What it is: A stress reaction is inflammation in the bone without evidence of a fracture. A stress fracture is the next level up: inflammation with a fracture.
Where it hurts: Could happen in many places, but the most common for runners are: femur, tibia, small toe, pelvis.
Why it happens: Diet – decreased bone density due to restricting calories. Overuse and not getting proper rest.
How to rehab it: Rest is the number one thing you can do. Also, look at your nutrition and have blood work done to see if there are any abnormalities with hormones, blood cells, etc…
What you should’ve done before you got injured: Have a balanced diet and ensure you are getting enough rest. Running is hard and the pounding your body will take is inevitable. It is important to run slow on certain days and to take days off.
What it is: Knee pain that can result from improper tracking of the patella on the femur.
Where it hurts: The inside of the kneecap.
Why it happens: Muscular imbalances during a repetitive activity – like running – can cause pulling of the patella, causing it to track over the femur improperly. That causes friction, which leads to inflammation, which leads to pain.
How to rehab it: REST! Soft tissue work of the quads, hips, calves, and hamstrings. You should also get your biomechanics looked at. A common theme with this injury is that the knee collapses inward when you are running – commonly due to a hip weakness. There should be focus on strengthening this area. Lastly, orthotics may be able to help with the knee collapsing. Your local running store should be able to assist you with this.
What you should’ve done before you got injured: Foam rolling every day, leg strengthening, yoga, and knowing when to rest your body. If you have a biomechanical issue, those problems are magnified when your body is fatigued.
What is it: Inflammation of the connective tissue on the plantar (underside) surface of the foot.
Where it hurts: The heel when you stand up after sitting. It usually gets better after taking a few steps and can even feel good in the middle of the run. The start and the end however are generally painful.
Why it happens: Overuse
How to rehab it: Rest is the number one thing you can do. Non-impact activities are also okay such as swimming or cycling. The underlying issue could be related to a weakness in the hips or core and the runner’s biomechanics should be monitored.
How to rehab it: It all starts with strength in the core, hips, and glutes. When there is a strength deficiency in one of these areas, or if something is not “firing” correctly, it can often lead to injuries in the lower extremities. Weightlifting, yoga, and stretching can be helpful in preventing this issue.