Running Injuries: Improve Performance With Osteopathy

Posted In: Osteopathy, Sports Injuries

Running is an excellent exercise, but like any physical activity, you’re at greater risk of injury or pain. Thankfully, Osteopathy can be a preventative or curative treatment for many common running injuries. Keep reading to learn how Osteopathy can help you run better and pain-free.

Common running injuries

Running injuries, common among recreational and competitive runners, can often be attributed to improper technique, overuse, or neglect to stretch. If you’ve experienced one or more of these, you’re not alone:

Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome

Also known as runner’s knee, this injury causes pain and sometimes swelling in the knees. It’s caused by too much strain on the kneecaps, usually after long runs or prolonged sitting. It can also cause additional pain in the pelvic or hip areas.

Plantar Fasciitis

When the ligament between your toes and heel is inflamed, it’s known as plantar fasciitis. While it’s common in older people or those who gain weight (such as during pregnancy), it can also affect runners and their ability to walk or run without pain. 

Patella Tendinopathy

Also known as jumper’s knee, this is an injury to the tendon below your kneecap. It is caused by overuse of this tendon and is recognized by pain, swelling and discomfort when running or jumping. 

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

Excessive strain on your tibia (shins) can cause medial tibial stress syndrome, commonly called shin splints. It usually affects the inner side of your shin bone in runners and is recognized by pain along your inner shins or the knee/ankle area.

Preventing running injuries with Osteopathy

Osteopathy can help you avoid common running injuries. Stretching is a key preventative Osteopathic way to ensure your body is in optimal shape before and after a run. Here are a few areas to stretch. 

  • Back: Thoracic spine rotations can help limber your back muscles. Sit on a firm chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your opposite shoulder and the other hand on your other shoulder (like a hug). Rotate to the left ten times, then repeat for the right.
  • Hips: Gluetal stretches can help prepare your hips for a run. Lay on your back. Grab your knee with one arm and stretch the other on the floor. Push your knee in the opposite direction to feel a good stretch. Hold for three seconds. Repeat for the other leg. 
  • Knee: To prepare your knees for the extra stress while running, sit on the floor with your legs straight in front. Place a rolled towel under one knee. Slowly raise your foot as high as possible and lower it again. Repeat ten times for each leg.
  • Ankles and Feet: Limber your ankles and feet before and after running. Find a step or curb and dip your heel off the edge. Lower it until you feel a calf stretch. Maintain for 10-second intervals, one leg at a time or both simultaneously if you feel steady. 

Healing running injuries with Osteopathy

If you are a recreational or professional runner, regular visits to an Osteopath can help you run better and safer. Three techniques are commonly practiced on runners:

  • Assessment Functional movement: Your Osteopath will perform an assessment and discuss your medical history, physical activity, and any other concerns you may have. They may also perform a biomechanical assessment to examine your gait, running patterns, and mobility in your lower back, hips, knees, and feet.
  • Soft-tissue massage: Massages help increase blood flow, which is critical for athletic performance. Depending on your needs, your Osteopath may massage deeper to loosen stiff or tense muscles so they function better when you run.
  • Exercise or rehabilitation: Depending on whether your visit is preventative or reactive to an injury or pain, your osteopath will walk you through exercises tailored to your needs. Orthotics or tapping may be recommended. 

Osteopathic treatments are holistic, meaning they may massage other connected parts of your body, not just the site of the injury or pain. 

How osteopathy can boost your athletic performance

Osteopathy treats muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves, connective tissue and internal organs. These parts of your body support movement, such as walking or running, so if they’re strained, injured, or otherwise inflamed, they can impact your performance and overall health. Osteopathy supports holistic, efficient healing of these essential body systems. 

Here are several ways osteopathy can help you improve your athletic performance:

Improves circulation: Proper circulation increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body, both essential elements for running. It also ensures lymphatic fluid is able to travel to any area of inflammation for faster healing. Your Osteopath can perform various techniques to ensure your circulatory system functions optimally. 

Loosens tight muscles: When your muscles are tight, your movement is restricted. For runners, this means you lose your range of motion and are more susceptible to injuring that tight muscle or tendon. Osteopathic treatments loosen these areas of strain or tightness so you regain your full range of motion. 

Calms your mind: A distracted mind often affects your ability to perform at your physical best. If you have worries or are preoccupied with pain while running, osteopathic massage can help relax your body and mind so you can focus on proper, safe technique and performance. 

Where runners can see an Osteopath in Vancouver

Runners in Vancouver can see me at Thuja Wellness. Through Osteopathy, I’ve helped hundreds of recreational runners, athletes, and anyone who spends lots of time on their feet live pain-free and boost their physical fitness.

If you want to prevent running injuries, let’s work together on stretches and techniques to boost your health and mobility holistically. If you’re experiencing pain or have been injured, let me assess your pain and see how Osteopathy can support your safe recovery. I aim to get you back running as soon as safely possible. Book your appointment at Thuja today to discuss your health and wellness goals.