I am sure the movie Bhag Milkha Bhag, has inspired few hundred thousand more to run for the marathon. However, running is an impact athletic activity, pounding full body weight on the hard surface. That’s why it is critical that the runners have a well-planned Training and Physical Fitness strategy in place to enhance performance and to prevent injuries. 

The running related pain, stiffness and injury are very common and runners usually suffer from:

  • Foot and Ankle strain and Pain 
  • Shin pain/ shin splints 
  • Calf pain and Cramps 
  • Knees pain and Stiffness 
  • Low Back Pain and Stiffness 

What is the common cause of the pain and injuries in runners? 

The lower limb is a complex structure (from toes to the lower back) so there isn’t a simple or single answer to this question. 

Major contributing factors are: 

1. Improper Track: Running long distances on hard surfaces, downhill running, etc. can result in excessive load and stress on the lower limb. 

2. Load Threshold: This means the ability of the tissues to handle repetitive loading over a given period of time before it starts to fail. If one continues to push past the limit without allowing adequate rest time and toning exercises, the lower limb tissues it can result in breakdown and lead to injury. Once injured, the tissues get weakened making it much harder to tolerate even basic daily routine and may lead to chronic symptoms. 

3. The Biomechanics: If flat feet or foot, ankle and lower limb are not well aligned, It will cause pain, stiffness, instability and injuries in the lower limb, i.e. Calf, Shin, Knee and all the way to back. Altered hip Biomechanics due to weak glutes, core and internal rotation of the hip, changes the alignment between the hip and knee, causing increased loading at the knee. 

4. Posture and Gait: Poor posture and faulty gait can cause early fatigue, stiffness and injury. 

5. Weakness and Stiffness: Weak and tight quadriceps, hamstrings and Hip flexor can limit knee range of motion and affect the stability of the joint. 

6. Poor diet and lack of nutrition: This can predispose runners to injuries, and often, leads to poor recovery and slowing down of healing time. 

7. Lack of rest and inadequate downtime: This can prevent the body from recovering post training wear and tear.

8. Exercises and Workouts: It’s important to incorporate cross-fit training, strength training, Yoga and other forms of exercises to restore strength, flexibility and balance. Not varying training or running routines can cause overuse trauma and pain. 

Just as eyeglasses do not change a person’s eye but help prevent further eye problems, a pair of orthotics to align foot, ankle and Lower Limb will prevent further damage and slow down the progression of the pathology.