Early morning sunlight in our bedrooms beckons many of us out the door and sends us running through our neighborhoods. Some of us strive for 5 miles a week, others are logging longer distances in a quest to complete our 1st, 2nd of 15th marathon. Some of us are inspired to run in the many relays and races around Portland.
Injuries are common with running. Especially as we age! The repeated impact of our feet on hard cement or crooked sidewalks takes it toll on our joints, ligaments and cartilage. Often, we find that the time to recover after running grows longer. Proper maintenance of muscle balance and postural balance along with corrective stretching and strengthening can keep us running longer and stronger.
There are many common injuries that occur with running. These can be due to overuse, improper footwear and/ or direct trauma. However, the underlying causes of these injuries are often more complicated and are connected to our posture and gait. Below are two very common injuries and some of the underlying causes that should be addressed to properly recover and prevent re-injury.
IT Band Friction
A common injury for many people is Iliotibial band (IT band) friction syndrome. This often occurs when the tight band of tendinous tissue known as the IT band flicks over the outside of the knee repeatedly. Underlying this condition is often an imbalance in the hip. If the hip bone is elevated slightly on one side it will increase the length and tension of the IT band. The elevated side is usually the side of injury. While foam rolling the IT band may help, correcting the imbalance in the hip will provide a more long term solution to the problem. Of course, Inner Gate Acupuncturists can correctly diagnose and treat this condition.
This injury is so common to runners it is referred to as "runner's knee." In runner's knee the kneecap is moving in an imbalanced way across the femur. This causes inflammation and pain at or below the kneecap. There are several common causes that lead to runner's knee. Imbalance in the quadriceps muscle, problems in the feet and hip imbalances are all contributing factors to runner's knee. Correctly identifying and correcting these contributing factors can improve the recovery time and prevent the injury from re-occurring.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
At Inner Gate Acupuncture we have completed specialized training in Sports Medicine. This training has given us the skills to accurately diagnosis and treat many sports related injuries. By understanding the underlying postural irregularities our practitioners can develop treatment plans that both correct postural imbalances and help injured tissues heal. Acupuncture can relax muscles locked in a shortened position and strengthen muscles locked in lengthened positions.
Developing a proper stretching and strengthening routine that directly addresses postural imbalances is a component to long term health, injury prevention and enjoyment of a long and full running season. Let us help you accomplish the running goals you've set out to achieve.