• 208-522-3341
  • 930 Pier View Dr Idaho Falls, ID 83402
  • 113 S 2nd W, Rexburg, ID 83440

Common Injuries

 

Shin Splints
Achilles Tendon
IT Band Syndrome
Runners Knee
Plantar Fasciitis 

SHIN SPLINTS

One of the most common and preventable injuries that we often hear from runners is that they are experiencing shin splints.  From Mayoclinic, “shin splints refers to the pain along shinbone (tibia)-the large bone in the front of your lower leg.”  You are more prone to getting shin splints when you’re a runner, play or run on hard surfaces, run on uneven terrain, or have flat feet or high arches.  

Causes

Shin splints often occur in athletes who recently intensified or change their training routines.  Runners adding too much milage or switching from running on flat surfaces to hills.  The muscles, tendons, and bone tissue become overworked by the increased activity. 

Other factors that cause shin splints:

  • overpronation
  • inadequate stretching
  • worn shoes
  • excessive stress placed on one leg or hip from running

Symptoms

Although you most likely have shin splints, sometimes that is not always the case.  Occasionally, stress fractures -- tiny incomplete fractures of the bone -- are the culprit.  If you run your finger along your shin and find a definite spot of sharp pain, this is a sign of a stress fracture.  

For shin splints: 

  • Tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner part of your lower leg
  • Mild swelling in your lower leg
  • Often feel worse in the morning 
  • Most painful when you forcibly try to lift your foot up at the ankle and flex your foot.  

Treatments

The best treatment is rest: avoiding activities that cause the pain, swelling or discomfort.  Don’t give up on activity, just try low-impact exercises.  Ice the affected area.  Applying ice to the shin for 15-20 minutes up to several times a day.  If needed, ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin can help reduce the pain.  Stretch your achilles if you have medial shin splints and calves if you have anterior shin splints.  

Prevention

  • Choose the right shoes.  As a runner replace your shoes every 350 to 500 miles.
  • Choose an arch support to help prevent the pain of shin splints especially if you have flat feet or high arches.
  • If you have changed your training routine, try to lessen the impact on your shins.  Start new activities slowly and increase the time and intensity gradually.
  • Add strength training to your workout.  The most important thing to do is to strengthen your calf muscles.  You can do toe raises or leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful.

ACHILLES TENDON

The largest, thickest, and strongest tendon in the body which connects the two major calf muscles-the gastrocnemius and soleus-to the back of the heel bone is the achilles.  When there is enough force and under too much stress, the “tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard.  This causes it to become inflamed and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon” (Runner’s world, Achilles Tendinitis).  When this happens, and the achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.  

Causes

  • Tight or fatigued calf muscles from not stretching the calves properly
  • Increasing milage too quickly
  • Overtraining
  • Excessive hill running or speedwork
  • Inflexible running shoes which can force the Achilles to twist
  • Runners who overpronate are more common to Achilles tendinitis

Symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Pain along the back of your foot and above your heel
  • Hearing a snap or pop noise during the injury
  • Difficulty flexing foot or pointing toes 

Treatments

 When you first start to experience any pain in the achilles, stop running.  You can take aspirin or ibuprofen, and ice the area between 20-30 minutes.  

  • Rest your leg
  • Compress and elevate your leg
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises  

Prevention

The best prevention that you can do is to stretch the calf muscles.  Make sure that you don’t start running again until you do toe raises without any pain.  Strength training is also important.  You can do eccentric heel drops, ankle strengthening and mobility exercises.  

You can find more information on Achilles Tendon Injures by following these links:

http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/achilles-tendonitis-and-insertional-achilles-tendinopathy-in-runners/

http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/achilles-tendinitis

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/achilles-tendon-injury

IT BAND SYNDROME 

The Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners.  The IT band is the ligament that runs down the outside of the the thigh from the hip to the shin.  When it becomes overused, it will become tight or inflamed.  The IT band attaches to the knee which helps stabilize and move the joint.  When it doesn’t work properly, movement of the knee becomes painful.  

Causes

The main cause of inflammation of the iliotibial band is overuse.  Other causes include any activity that causes the leg to turn inward repeatedly; worn out shoes, running downhill, running too many track workouts, and or running too many miles can all contribute.  There can also be mechanical issues with poor flexibility and decreased strength in the quadriceps muscles of the thigh.  

Symptoms

  • Knee pain is the primary symptom.
  • Pain is most severe with the heel strike.  Pain may be felt with knee flexing, especially going up or down steps.  

Treatments

The best treatment is rest.  You can also apply ice or heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation. Stretching is also important.

Prevention

There are many things you can do to help prevent iliotibial band syndrome:

  • decrease your mileage
  • change directions repeatedly when running on a track
  • run on flat surfaces
  • make sure your shoes aren’t worn on the outside

SUMMARY

With all of the above injuries the best remedy tends to follow the acronym R.I.C.E.

R est

I ce

C ompression

E levation

As a general rule of thumb, if something hurts, stop doing it.

If you've tried the basic remedies and symptoms don't improve or get worse, it may be time to consult a medical professional.

Bill's Bike Locations

Idaho Falls: 930 Pier View Dr
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Phone: 208-522-3341 Store hours: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm                       Saturday 9am-6pm
Rexburg: 113 S 2nd W
Rexburg, ID 83440
208-932-2719 Store hours: Mon-Friday 10am-6pm
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