Running offers a multitude of health benefits, including improving the health of your heart and circulatory system, reducing the risk of chronic disease, and lowering stress, to name just a few. Any regular physical activity poses the risk of sustaining an overuse injury. These injuries result from repeated stress on certain structures of the body. This is different from a sudden injury.

By understanding overuse injuries and taking steps to prevent them, you can enjoy hitting the track with fewer health worries. Here is a look at some typical overuse issues.

Shin splints

Known medically as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints bring you pain along the tibia, the large bone in the front of your lower leg. This type of stress injury commonly plagues new runners.

Building your running mileage and intensity gradually is the best way to lower your risk of shin splints. If you do develop shin splints, rest, ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines usually help.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, our providers can help keep you in tip-top shape and may recommend evaluation by a running specialist (check out our Runners Program) or shoes with special arch support, especially since overpronation of the ankle commonly causes shin splints.

Achilles tendonitis

Your Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that inserts into your heel and connects your calf muscle to your lower leg. Runners get Achilles tendonitis from repeatedly extending the foot. You notice pain along your Achilles tendon, which travels down the leg. It’s most common when you suddenly increase the duration of your run.

While you may feel eager to build up your mileage, gradually increasing your duration helps you avoid Achilles tendonitis. Physical therapy can help strengthen your calf and Achilles tendon, so you improve your flexibility. The stronger and more flexible your Achilles and the supporting muscles, the lower the chances of getting Achilles tendonitis.

Stress fracture

When you run, you strengthen your whole body, including your bones. Your bones constantly undergo a process called remodeling, where old bone tissue is removed, and new bone tissue is rebuilt.

When you push yourself by increasing the intensity or duration of your running too quickly, your body isn’t able to keep up with the demand to generate new bone tissue. Stress fractures occur when your bones lose older tissue before new tissue replaces it. In runners, the tibia, hips, thighs, ankles, and feet are most affected.

Stress fractures require more care than other common overuse injuries. If you suspect that you have a stress fracture, the providers at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists can conduct a thorough evaluation.

Plantar fasciitis

This involves irritation of the soft tissue band that runs along the bottom of your foot, which helps to support the arch. Plantar fasciitis pain is typically on the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia originates, and it hurts the worst with the first steps of the day — when the plantar fascia is the tightest — and is worsened by running.

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the tough, thick ligament that connects the front of your foot to your heel. This ligament acts as a shock absorber and takes on a lot of wear and tear.

Runners who try to do too much, too soon, are often plagued by plantar fasciitis. Physical therapy can improve the strength and flexibility of the plantar fascia to lower your risk of problems and help you recover from plantar fasciitis.

The providers at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists understand how important it is to keep feet healthy in order to prevent recurring running injuries. We have an elite team of foot and ankle specialists which includes Dr. Lynette MahoneyDr. Raymond O’Hara, and Dr. Narendra Patel, our Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Dr. Gina Cahill, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, will be joining the group in September 2019. These physicians can help you stay on the track, trail, or field and off the bench.

To learn more about treating and preventing overuse injuries, call our office at 847 285-4200 to schedule an appointment at one of our four convenient locations: Buffalo Grove, Bartlett, Elk Grove Village, and Schaumburg. You can also request an appointment here on our website. To schedule a Runners Program Assessment please call 847 885-0078. We’re eager to take care of all of your orthopedic needs.