Running Injuries and Chiropractic Treatment

Runners are unique individuals. Whether working on a “couch to 5K” running program or consistently training for marathons and Ironmans, runners will eventually experience issues with their bodies not cooperating.  The mind over body mantra of, “pain is temporary” can eventually become problematic when the pain isn’t temporary.  A lingering irritation or gradually increasing pain should set off alarms that your running needs reevaluation.

The American Chiropractic Association explains that “up to 60% of runners will experience an injury that will limit their activities.” Most running injuries result from overuse or improper form combined with the repetitive, jarring sustained when running. 

External Factors Causing Running Injuries

External factors that can affect the runner if not in check are:

Training Program:            -Total Mileage and Mileage Increases

                                   -Speed/Interval/Hill training

                                   -Relative Experience and Recent Running Logs

Surface Evaluatuion:       -Road/Asphalt




Personal Equipment:       -Shoes


These external factors should be discussed between the runner and chiropractor, along with evaluation, and may result in a simple solution of decreasing mileage while running on grass for reduced “pounding” or running on the opposite side of the road to counter an exaggerated “leg length variation” when running on a slant or embankment.   These external issue problems are usually the easiest and quickest to diagnose and remedy.

Internal factors Causing Running Injuries 

Internal factors affecting running ability are typically muscular or structural.  Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the most difficult part of treatment for any running problem is diagnosing an internal issue.  These internal issues are more challenging to correct, but with proper chiropractic care and physical modifications and therapies, leaps and bounds in healing can be made by the injured runner.  Many times a runners condition is made more complicated by demonstrating multiple internal issues, often compounded by the runner ignoring or “trying to run through” the pain.

Some of the more commonly seen internal running injuries include:

 -Plantar Fasciitis —inflammation and pain in the band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes, and forms the arch of the foot

-Shin Splints— pain from repeated stress on the connective tissues surrounding the shin bone or tibia

-Runners Knee — tenderness behind or around the patella; pain toward the back of the knee, a sense of cracking or that the knee's giving out, resulting from biomechanical or muscular causes.

- Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITSB) — inflammation and pain on the outer knee, where the band of muscle connects the outside of the knee to the hip and pelvis

-Stress fracture — an incomplete fracture with pain, commonly seen in the tibia (or shin) bone or feet bones from extreme or unusual repeated stress; may manifest from neglected shin splints.

-Ankle sprain — stretched or torn ligaments in the ankle from quick, shifting movements.

How A Runner Can Avoid Injuries?

Overtraining and doing too much too quickly or inconsistently will eventually result in injury. So:

-Mileage increases and speed training incorporation should be gradual

-Alternate hard and easy days

-Cross train 1-2 days a week- bike, swim, elliptical- to give the running muscles a break

-Stretching of warm muscles can reduce potential injury

-Allow a chiropractor to evaluate your running form and posture

-Listen to your body! If the pain is recurring or worsening, it’s probably time to see a professional

Any runner frustrated with the nightmare of an injury, ultimately inhibiting their running, should consider chiropractic treatment as an option in their healing process.  For most runners, interruptions in training or race schedules can be bothersome and hence, are ignored until reaching critical states.  These issues may be addressed, before becoming further aggravated, by seeking out a chiropractor to evaluate and treat the issues.

Chiropractors can treat running injuries with soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound, physical therapy, deep tissue massage, and stretching, as well as other modalities.  Pain management during recovery and improvements in personal diet are also areas where a runner may benefit from meeting and consulting with a chiropractor.  Once the initial diagnosis is made, the chiropractor will prepare a plan of treatment for the patient with the ultimate goal of getting the runner back on track (wink, wink).

If you are experiencing any of these running issues and would like to schedule an initial assessment of your condition and start the process of healing, contact us for an appointment.

For more information on other athletes who utilize chiropractic services, click the link below.