The Physical Cost of Running: Common Injuries

The glory of running and the defeat of injury are both well known to Dr. Mathieu Lentine, D.C.
Lentine was a competitive runner for nearly 16 years. He ran in high school, college and post collegiately. “I never liked to run but loved to race so that was what my training was always geared around,” Lentine said.
In high school and college he ran cross country and track and has ran every distance up through marathon. It was all of this running that led him to multiple knee injuries, one of which ended his college career.
Knee problems like his are common for runners. In fact the most common problem for runners is colloquially termed runners knee, though the technical term is patellofemoral pain syndrome. It is when the kneecap does not track/slide properly, especially with running. The tendons attaching to it can get inflamed or actually tear.
Another common cause of knee pain in runners is ITB syndrome. It occurs when the IT band that connects from the hip to just below the knee joint gets inflamed. This is caused by the motion of these joints during running. Also, small tears in the fascia from tight calves, low or high arches or sudden changes in running intensity can cause plantar fasciitis and result in severe pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel.
According to Lentine, problems like this can be life-long, as he is still slowed down by one of his knee injuries.
“I’m still dealing with it but physical therapy and being conscious of my movement, paired with proper training and progression, is crucial to getting back to running,” said Lentine.
He said that overuse injuries stem from a lack of mobility, muscle imbalance issues and progressing training too quickly, before the body is adapted to handle the volume/intensity or frequency of training.
He uses his own experience to emphasize the importance of doing stretching and mobility work prior to any workout.
“It’s not fun and it’s the easiest thing to neglect in a training program. However it is what keeps you running longer and with less or no injuries,” he said.
He also recommends starting slow and at a low distance. Runners can also try to mix up their routine by running on grass, gravel, pavement or the treadmill. He also recommends investing in quality running shoes which should be replaced every 300 to 400 miles.

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