How a virtual assessment can help with common injuries associated with running.
Are you using your daily lockdown exercise hour to keep up your running? Or have you been nominated by a friend to run 5km to raise money for NHS Charities and you don’t know where to start? Running injuries can affect anyone, whether experienced or novice and here at Emma James Physio we are here to help. Here are some things to look out for and what you can expect from a virtual assessment.
Virtual assessment is a service that is being employed nationally to help continue the management of musculoskeletal conditions whether individuals were already in treatment when lockdown began or if they are experiencing any new pain or injuries during this time. We can also help to facilitate the smooth transition for those individuals who have recently started working from home and need to set up a home office.
These virtual assessments are carried out via various media platforms, including Zoom or FaceTime video calling. As with any physiotherapy assessment (virtual or in-person) we start with a subjective examination where your physiotherapist will ask you a series of questions about yourself and your pain, helping us to hypothesise a probable diagnosis. Objective examination typically follows to confirm such diagnosis where possible and we can still carry out several objective tests with an individual via video call by asking the patient to replicate movement patterns and describe their pain. Early assessment can facilitate a speedy recovery and minimise disruption to training, even when carried out virtually, so don’t hesitate to contact us to book an appointment. Don’t suffer in silence, we are still here to help.
Common Running Injuries
The most common running injuries include:
- Knee pain.
- Achilles pain.
- Muscle injury.
- Shin pain.
One of the most common conditions we see in runners attending physiotherapy is knee pain. Commonly called ‘runner’s knee,’ patients describe pain at the front of the knee, around the knee or perhaps behind the knee cap itself. It may be dull, achy, sharp or severe. Icing the knee can be helpful as well as stretching and strengthening. It is best to stop running and seek advice from your physiotherapist to get the right diagnosis and recommendations for exercise. A virtual assessment can help to minimise disruption to your training regime during lockdown.
The Achilles tendon is a thick cord-like structure that attaches the muscle to the bone at the back of the ankle. It typically comes under a lot of stress when running regularly over time, therefore pain and sometimes swelling may be noted at the back of the ankle. Again, it may be minimal or severe and is often worse first thing in the morning. Trying to maintain good mobility in the calf muscles by stretching or foam rolling is helpful as well as icing. If pain persists or worsens seek advice. We will be able to advise you on your training schedule and the appropriate rehabilitative exercises to do at home, all of which can be achieved via a virtual assessment and when we are able, we can offer gait analysis to ensure you are wearing the correct footwear or perhaps provide an orthotic if required.
The most common muscle strains caused by running are in the hamstring muscles (which run down the back of the thigh) or calf muscles (in the lower leg). Strains often affect new runners whose muscles aren’t used to running. Improving and maintaining flexibility can help prevent muscle injury as well as including strength training in your program. Preparing and recovering well before and after exercise is key, including warming up, cooling down, staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. Your physiotherapist can help advise you on all of these aspects via virtual assessment.
Shin pain can be extremely painful and usually occurs during or after exercise. It is generally an overuse injury caused by small tears in the lower leg muscles and is often called ‘shin splints.’ Some risk factors include, worn-out shoes, lack of cushioning or support in footwear, foot position/biomechanics, and/or impact from running on hard surfaces. If you are unsure or your symptoms worsen, contact us to book a virtual assessment, we are here to help.
Go to our website www.ejphysio.co.uk for more information on the range of services available.