Orchard Clinic has been involved in setting up the London Marathon Injury Service and has vast experience in treating runners of all different abilities.
We recognise the strains running can place on your body, so we have put together this article to help you recognise common injuries and the best way to help treat them.
One of the most common injuries in runners of all abilities is Ilio Tibial Band (ITB) Syndrome. Symptoms from this structure can cause hip, thigh pain and pain on the outside of the knee.
The ITB runs down the side of your thigh from your hip to the outside of your knee, helping to stabilise your pelvis and knee joints when you move. If the IT band becomes tight then it can rub on the thigh bone where it wraps around the side of your knee. This friction causes inflammation and leg pain. The IT band can become tight for a number of reasons including hip/ pelvic weakness, poor knee and foot alignment, poor running technique and incorrect footwear to name but a few.
Early treatment for IT band friction syndrome
First of all take action as soon as you experience symptoms you think may come from the IT Band. Cut back on all activities that make your symptoms worse to a point where they are comfortable. For some activites, this may mean temporarily stopping altogether. This doesn’t mean stopping all activity, you can cross train in the short term to keep up your fitness levels and swim.
You can gently massage the painful area with an ice cube in small circle for about 3 -5 minutes to relief pain. Stop when the area goes numb to avoid an ice burn.
Foam rollers are an excellent way to massage the IT Band.
The IT Band is a very hard muscle to stretch so make sure you thoroughly stretch your hip and knee muscles instead, and use the foam roller regularly.
Exercises to help the IT band recover and to prevent recurrence
The pelvic and hips muscles are very important in providing the core strength for our thigh and leg muscles to work with when performing loading activities such as walking and running. If any muscle around the hips or pelvis are weak the IT band has to compensate and work a lot harder to stabilise the body when we run, which then builds up tension in the IT Band. Our Gluteal or Buttock muscles are a very important muscles in providing this strength and stability around the pelvis. If your buttock muscles (glutes) are weak, smaller muscles around your hips have to work harder than they should as well as the IT Band.
Below are a few exercises to help build Gluteal strength and stability.
Side-lying leg lifts
Side lying leg lifts are an effective way of activating your Glut muscles, while keeping the IT Band off tension. It can be performed early on when your knee is still sore. It’s important to perform the exercise with correct technique otherwise the IT Band can start to activate
- Lie on your good side.
- Straighten out your top leg and press back slightly, so it’s in line with your body.
- Imagine you are lying with your back against a wall and that you are sliding your leg up the wall as you lift it. Hold for 5 seconds and lower again.
- Repeat for as many repetitions as you can while keeping good form and technique.
Double leg bridge
Double leg bridge is another exercise to target Gluteal muscles.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet and knees shoulder width apart and lift up your pelvis. Try to keep the buttock muscles as relaxed as possible.
- Keep your pelvis level and hold for 5 seconds and repeat on the other side
- Lower and repeat 20 times, if you can keep good form.
To further strengthen the Gluts this exercise can be repeated with one leg. To do this repeated the first 2 steps as above, then lift up your good leg and slowly lower your pelvis towards the bed using the affected leg. Push back up and repeat 8 times with good form.
As soon as you are able, without causing any pain, it’s important to move on to strengthening your glutes while your standing . Try some wide stance squats
- Stand with a wide stance so your feet are wider than your shoulder.
- Sink down into a squat by thinking of pushing your bottom back behind you. Keep your knees aligned over your second toe.
- Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Try to perform 20 reps keeping good knee alignment over the foot.
- If this is painful try with your bottom sliding up and down a door.
As your knee and hip muscles strengthen and the pain and inflammation settle around the knee you can start to think about restarting running. This should be gradual using interval training to allow the muscles to adapt to the new exercise.
If symptoms persist or are present when exercising a professional opinion would be advised.
Running Injury Prevention Assessment at Orchard Clinic
As well as our standard assessment and treatments rates for treating running injuries we have devised two treatment offers for runners aimed at preventing injuries occurring:
If your training for a marathon, part of a running club, or run for 20 minutes once a week, injury prevention through physiotherapy screening, maintenance through training, conditioning and rehabilitation post injury are all essential to keep you running.
The Orchard Physiotherapy Clinic is offering two packages to ensure that you stay fit and active and reduce the risk of injury.
The basic MOT includes 1 One hour assessment & treatment and then 1 subsequent 30 minute follow-up session at a cost of £95
The Advanced MOT includes the One hour assessment and three follow-up sessions at a cost of £175.
We will look at your biomechanics, muscle imbalance, joint stiffness and dynamic control. Treatment will include manual “hands on” techniques, specific stretches and strengthening exercises. If there is an ongoing injury then the assessment will focus on understanding the underlying cause and treatment will focus on resolving this alongside comprehensive rehabilitation.
Orchard Clinic specialises in treating runners of all different abilities, please get in touch if you have a running injury.