With the Boston Marathon around the corner, Brendan Carman, MPT, ATC, Director of Rehabilitation at Mass Bay Spine & Sport Physical Therapy (MBSSPT), shares his insight on the causes of running injuries and how to avoid them.
Carman, who oversees the state-of-the-art orthopedic outpatient physical therapy practice in Marshfield, has treated countless injuries in runners who are training for marathons and half-marathons over the years.
Below, Carman outlines the causes of certain injuries when training:
Over-training. Achilles tendonitis (painful inflamation of the achilles tendon), Plantar Fasciitis (which exhibits as heel pain) and shin splints (front of leg pain) are all serious injuries resulting from over-training. When training for the Boston Marathon, runners often focus more on endurance and stamina than on overall strengthening of the entire lower body. The first indicator of over-training is aches and pains.
“When a patient presents with aches and pains, its best to deal with it sooner than later. If caught early, one to two days of rest is usually all that is needed. But, aches and pains that are ignored can become more significant. The tissues break down and can become an injury if not addressed promply. Then, it can take weeks to resolve the issue,” explained Carman.
Achilles tendonitis in particular can get progressively worse and result in degeneration of the tendon if left untreated.
Abrupt changes in regimen. Adding five miles to that daily run or altering the pace are actually abrupt changes in regimen that can spark an injury. It will become worse if symptoms start and a runner tries to work through it. Achilles tendonitis is most often the result.
Poor footwear. Old, worn, broken down sneakers offer no support. Wearing the improper size sneaker also creates problems. If the size is too large, then there is an increase in the lever arm so force through the calf muscle is increased and the tendons break down. Improper footwear can also cause Achilles tendonitis. It is generally recommended that running shoes be changed for every 350 to 500 miles trained, depending on body type and training style.
Muscle imbalance. The fundamental problem most of the time is muscle imbalance or weakness that doesn’t get addressed. Training goes beyond just running. Training should include a strengthening and stretching program for the whole lower half of the body, including the muscles of the core.
According to Carman, “At Mass Bay Spine & Sport, we focus on a lot of functional movement type activities with empahsis on balance, that engage the muscles all the way through the hip. This is a significant component. Weak hips will cause problems with knees and ankles because they are not stabilized. Hip weakness is often a key contributing factor to the onset of shin splints and Plantar Fasciitis.”
Mass Bay Spine & Sport Physical Therapy (MBSSPT) is an orthopedic outpatient physical therapy practice. MBSSPT, a state-of-the-art facility owned and operated by a physical therapist, has earned a reputation for superior clinical care and delivery of services to South Shore community members as well as physicians from Boston to Plymouth.
The practice’s highly trained staff is committed to providing clients with an experience that will ensure their condition is resolved effectively and efficiently, while empowering them with the necessary tools and knowledge to prevent future problems and maintain optimal health. All of the practice’s physical therapists are trained to rehabilitate a variety of conditions utilizing treatment techniques that include soft tissue massage/mobilization, therapeutic and strengthening exercises, neuromuscular reeducation, gait training, patient education, and lumbar stabilization, to name a few. MBSSPT accepts Medicare, Workers’ Compensation, auto insurance, and most private insurance plans.
Mass Bay Spine & Sport Physical Therapy is located at 506 Plain Street in Marshfield. For more information, visit www.massbayspineandsport.com or call (781) 319-0024.