Physical Therapy Treatment for Runners
Core Physical Therapy evaluates your running injury and creates a treatment plan that gets you back to running quickly and safely.
Running Injury Types
Our resident running expert, Morgan, is an avid runner and has a special interest in working with injured runners. Besides a general physical therapy examination, a running assessment will be included using videotape analysis on a treadmill and suggestions to improve performance and eliminate pain.
ITB (Iliotibial Band) Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a fibrous band of inelastic connective tissue that connects the outside of the hip to the outside of the knee. It assists with hip motion and helps stabilize the knee. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band rubs against a bony prominence on the outside of the knee causing friction and pain. Symptoms include snapping and/or pain to the outside of the knee that increases when running downhill. There is often tenderness to the outside of the lower thigh just above the knee. Causes of ITB syndrome may be due to muscle weakness, poor shoe wear or faulty running mechanics. Treatment will be determined by the findings during the exam.
Patellofemoral Pain (anterior knee pain)
Patellofemoral pain is defined as pain around or under the kneecap (patella). The kneecap sits in a groove at the end of the thigh bone (femur). When you bend your knee, your kneecap should glide up and down in the groove. When it does not glide properly, pain may occur. Pain typically occurs when sitting for a long period of time with the knees bent (such as when going to a movie), walking up and down stairs, walking or running up or down hills and squatting. Causes of pain may be due to lower extremity weakness or tightness, poor anatomical structure, faulty running mechanics or inappropriate shoe wear. Treatment will be dictated by the findings during the exam.
Plantar fasciitis is considered an overuse syndrome of the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue that begins at the base of the bottom of the heel and extends to the ball of the foot. Pain occurs to the heel where the plantar fascia originates. Symptoms include pain when taking the first few steps after getting out of bed or after prolonged sitting. Obesity, tight calves and those who spend a great portion of their day standing are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Stretching exercises, temporary activity modification, over the counter inserts, changes in shoe wear, night splint, manual work, and strengthening may be appropriate depending on exam findings.
Chondromalacia is a condition where the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap begins to soften and show wear and tear. This is a common condition and many who have chondromalacia experience no pain. For those who do have pain, they can often reduce or eliminate their pain with physical therapy. Please refer to patellofemoral pain.
The Achilles tendon is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the two calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the back of the heel. Although the Achilles is a strong tendon, it is vulnerable to injury due to its limited blood supply and the high tensions placed on it when running. When the calf muscles contract, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel allowing the heel to rise. This is critical when walking and running. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness to the back of the heel that increases when getting out of bed, walking and running. Causes of Achilles tendinitis may be due to faulty running mechanics, muscle weakness or inflexibility, poor shoe selection or training errors. Treatment will vary depending on the length of time the problem has persisted and the causes of the problem. Physical therapy will include a thorough exam and plan to reduce your pain and get you back to running.
Shin Splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)
The term “shin splints” refers to pain along the shin bone (tibia). Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints often occur in runners who have recently increased or changed their training. Tenderness or swelling may be present to the inner side of the shinbone. If you continue to work through this pain, it may progress to a stress fracture which is a much more serious condition. Running mechanics, shoe wear, muscle weakness or inflexibility may predispose you to shin splints and treatment will include making the necessary changes in order to relieve yourself of this pain.
There are numerous muscles around the hip that may cause pain while running. The gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, the hip flexors, and the hamstrings are common tendons involved while running. Training errors, running faults, muscle weakness, and poor shoe wear may contribute to hip tendinitis. Glute strength is critical when running to keep the pelvis stable and to prevent the knees from caving inward. Strengthening and modifying running mechanics or shoe wear is often necessary to rid yourself of hip pain.
The therapists at Core Physical Therapy were able to evaluate my knee injury before I was able to get in to see an orthopedist and immediately began “prehabilitation” prior to necessary surgery that came a couple of months later.
Due to the course of treatment, I was able to graduate from PT and resume my normal activities one week after I underwent the surgery. I attribute my very fast recovery to the innovative treatment regimen prescribed by the staff. Well done!
Why Choose Core Physical Therapy to Treat Your Running Injury?
The physical therapists at Core Physical Therapy will complete a thorough evaluation and running mechanics assessment with you and provide a comprehensive treatment plan. Once the treatment plan is in place, formal physical therapy visits may be minimal if your problem can be resolved with changes in your running mechanics or specific exercises. As an avid runner, Core’s physical therapist Morgan Chocklett Corl PT, DPT understands how important running is not only to your physical health but also to your mental health.
● Certification by Institute of Clinical Excellence in Rehabilitation of the Injured Runner
● Certification by North American Seminars in Running Injuries
● Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Let Core Physical Therapy help treat your running injury and get you back on track quickly!
Treatments for Running Injuries
Running evaluations are performed using video equipment to analyze a runner’s gait. Each running evaluation includes a complete assessment of strength, ROM, and other measures to identify factors that might impair performance. The therapist will also analyze shoe wear patterns and orthotics. We make recommendations on footwear, orthotics, and running shoes.
The cause of your pain may be due to strength deficits, often hip and calf weakness. Your strength will be assessed during the exam and we will recommend specific exercises.
Foot Wear Modification
Perhaps your footwear is contributing to your pain. We will walk you through what characteristics to look for in a shoe depending on your structure and running mechanics so you can choose the best shoe for you.
Running Mechanics Modification
Your physical therapist will complete a videotape analysis of your running mechanics, review the video with you, and make recommendations to help improve your mechanics. These mechanical changes often help relieve or abolish your pain.
We will determine if there are joint or muscle/tendon issues that are creating pain. If
so, we can provide manual treatments that include:
- joint mobilization
- joint manipulation
- soft tissue work
- tooling (IASTM-instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization)
- dry needling
Meet The Core Physical Therapy Team
Brenda Miller PT, MPT, OCS, CLT, CMTPT
Owner & Physical Therapist
Brenda Miller is the founder and owner of Core Physical Therapy. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Pennsylvania State University, then completed her master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University in Glenside Pennsylvania.
Morgan Chocklett PT, DPT
Morgan Chocklett earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise and Health Promotion from Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES!!) and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Mary Baldwin University. She is thrilled to be back in Blacksburg and flaunt her maroon and orange!
Articles Related to Running Injuries
Core Physical Therapy Specializes In
Running injuries are common whether you are a novice or competitive runner. Training errors, inappropriate footwear, mechanical faults, weakness or flexibility may be the issue. At Core Physical Therapy, we provide a comprehensive evaluation that addresses posture, strength, shoe wear, flexibility and range of motion. Your running will be videotaped and analyzed for mechanical faults. Following the exam, you will learn about potential causes for your pain and how to treat it with exercises, changes in shoe wear or specific suggestions on how to improve your running mechanics
CrossFit has become extremely popular over the past twenty years. The program emphasizes cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, and balance. Occasionally, Crossfit athletes suffer an injury due to training errors or improper technique. The physical therapists at Core are trained to assist CrossFit athletes by improving their technique or any deficits they may exhibit with strength, flexibility, or joint mobility. Videotape analysis may be used to break down movement patterns to better assist with improving technique.
Core Physical Therapy works with many student athletes from Virginia Tech and the local elementary, middle and high schools who injure themselves while participating in their sport. The athletic background of the physical therapists give them a better understanding of what is required to return to competitive athletics. We treat overhead athletes such as volleyball, tennis, baseball and softball players as well as gymnasts, runners, swimmers, bikers and soccer players among others. Common injuries involve the shoulder, back, knee and ankle. We try our best to accommodate the student athletes schedule by offering early morning and late treatment hours.
Post Surgery Rehabilitation
If conservative management is unsuccessful in relieving pain and disability, surgery may be an option. The quality of physical therapy following surgery will greatly impact recovery. At Core Physical Therapy, we take your recovery very seriously. We make it a point to understand what was done surgically and will communicate with the surgeon as needed. Common surgeries seen at Core include but are not limited to ACL reconstructions, meniscectomies, spinal fusions, discectomies, carpal tunnel repairs, labral repairs, rotator cuff repairs and joint replacements to the shoulder, knee, and hip.
Dizziness | Vertigo | Balance Difficulties
The prevalence of falls increases with age. Vision, strength, sensation, and the inner ear (vestibular system) work together to maintain balance and equilibrium. If any of these systems are not functioning optimally, dizziness, and poor balance may result in increasing the risk of falls and severely impacting the quality of life. At Core Physical Therapy, an evaluation will be performed to determine the cause of the imbalance or dizziness. Treatment will be implemented to address the deficits to restore balance and resolve the dizziness.
Breast Cancer And Lymphedema
The number of cancer survivors continues to increase in the USA due to better treatment. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. Cancer and the treatment for cancer may lead to problems such as scar tissue and mobility restrictions, weakness, cancer-related fatigue syndrome, cording (axillary web syndrome), and lymphedema (post-cancer edema). At Core Physical Therapy, we have a certified lymphedema specialist who is able to address these issues with lymphatic manual drainage, bandaging, exercises, manual work, stretching, and cardiovascular conditioning.