Are You an Injured Runner? This is For You!


Even with all of the advances in science, research, training methods, and footwear runners still get injured. Some estimates are as high as 80% of runners are injured in a year, enough to make them stop or change their training and racing plans.   While there are many great resources available to runners now regarding training and injury management, there are still times when these athletes need to seek professional help.

Part of the problem is that most runners are used to dealing with little nagging aches, pains, and “tweaks” from time to time that may resolve on their own. The other motivation for not setting an appointment is that runners don’t want to stop running! They will avoid seeing a PT to avoid getting that message that “you need to take a break.”   Believe me when I say: I never like telling any patient they have to stop doing anything they love.   As a profession our job is to keep you as active as possible as safely as possible – and get back to doing the things you love as quickly as possible!

The 4 Tips below will help guide your decision making process on when to get an assessment with a physical therapist.

1. Pain/injury that you can link to a specific abrupt change in training intensity or volume.

Our bodies respond and adapt to stress. This is how we gain strength, flexibility, endurance, power, and bone density. Sometimes, we try to load our bodies with “too much, too soon,” and our bodies can’t keep up. This imbalance begins breaking down tissue, leading to injuries. While not every running injury is linked to abrupt training changes, several injuries that can be more troublesome and serious can follow these abrupt changes. If this is your concern, you may need to consider having a consult.

2. Pain that is enough to change how you run, modifies your running form, or causes you to stop running

If you are limping when you run, you definitely have a problem! Runners are extremely picky about how they feel when they run, and if something is causing you to limp, change your running form, or stop running because of pain, you should probably have things checked out. Pain – especially pain that is modifying how you perform high level activity – is often a signal from your body that shouldn’t be ignored.

3. Pain at rest, pain at night, or pain that is interfering with daily activity

Pain at rest or night is typically a sign of tissue irritability and is usually telling your body that things are “fired up.”   Also, if your injury is interfering with simple daily activities such as walking, stairs, or squatting, then it’s likely also interfering with your running (see #2!), and should be evaluated to determine how serious of a problem this might be.

4. Injury/pain that are not responding to your typical self-management (rest, ice, etc….)

Most runners have already tried several lines of self-treatment to manage the problem by the time they come in for a visit. If you’ve rested for a reasonable amount of time (which can vary depending on your training status) and your symptoms aren’t responding to allow normal return to activity, it’s time to get things checked out. Most non-serious issues will typically respond well to rest, ice, and self-care; but if things aren’t resolving as you’d expect, see a physical therapist who can help.

Keep in mind that getting your injury assessed does not always mean that you have to stop running. If the injury is serious enough, sometimes a period of rest without running is the only way to help things heal; but remember that many injuries can be managed with modified training. In many cases seeing a physical therapist may help you learn more about your body, and ways to improve your injury status, and hopefully your performance in the long run.

If you have concerns regarding acute running injuries, or more chronic issues, don’t hesitate to contact our offices to set up an assessment with a physical therapist. Our goal is to help you continue to enjoy the activities in life you love to do!

Body One is locally owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Meridian, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t wait to improve your running or other issues, let the experts at Body One get you across that finish line! Call or click for more details!