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1. Why do running injuries happen?

Running is great exercise that uses the body’s joints and muscles to create fluid motion. Running involves repeated contact with the ground, and therefore the majority of running injuries occur due to repetitive strain and stress.  This force is transferred throughout the structures of the body.  Overtime forces through joints, bones, discs, muscles and ligaments can cause these structures to fail resulting in injury.

2. What are the most common running injuries?

Did you know that nearly 80% of runners are injured each year? As mentioned, these injuries are typically due to overuse and force on the joints. The most common running injuries include runner's knee (tender pain on or around the kneecap), stress fractures, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of the foot), and shin splints. 

3. Can joint misalignments cause pain when running?

Alignment problems often play a role in the development of running injuries.  Even minimal misalignments can cause uneven joint wear which overtime results in injury.  Multiple sites of pain are not uncommon because the foot can impact the knee which can impact the back and so on.  This is why we use dynamic assessments of the entire body when assessing a running injury.

4. Why would problems with my shins, knees, or back require the help of a chiropractor?

Many people with running injuries seek help from physical therapists as their first line of defense, but continuous, persistent running injuries typically require even more attention. While physical therapy can assist with rehabilitation and coordination, chiropractic care is designed to improve joint mobilization and work the problem at it's foundation. Chiropractic care for running injuries is often seen as the "best of both worlds" when it comes to joint mobilization and soft tissue repair, and a visit with a chiropractor can be a critical step in getting you back into your running routine.

5. What are the chiropractic and rehabilitation treatments for a running injury?

The treatment depends on the cause of the injury.  We use a comprehensive system to analyze the entire body due to the fact that the region in pain isn’t always the region that needs correction.  For example, with the exception of a direct trauma to the knee, most knee pain is related to the adjacent structures including the foot, hip and back.  We use gentle chiropractic adjustments to restore proper joint alignment and custom rehabilitation protocols to restore proper muscle activation.  Soft tissue techniques combine stretching and massage to release muscle tension.

6. I have shooting pain in my leg when running.  Is this sciatica?

Pain down the leg has many causes.  Most commonly this pain is the result of irritation of the sciatic nerve (known as sciatica) or irritation of a nerve in the low back.  True sciatica is often caused by an over activation of the piriformis muscle in the gluteal region.  This muscle turns on during runs and irritates the sciatic nerve.  This creates a frustrating situation for runners because every time they attempt to run they experience pain.  Treatment for sciatica involves getting the piriformis to turn off and the correct muscles to turn on.  This is accomplished through correcting pelvic and back alignment including the sacroiliac joint.  Exercises and soft tissue techniques are also used to restore the proper muscle firing problem.  Activation of the correct gluteal muscles when running is a primary goal. 

7. I have pain under my knee cap when running.  Can you help?

The knee cap or patella is a common source of irritation for runners.  The constant rubbing of the patella over the knee can cause inflammation and in some cases degeneration.  If aligned properly, the patella moves painlessly during a run.  Poor patella alignment this is known as a patellar tracking problem.  This improper alignment causes uneven wear which causes pain and inflammation.  Treating this issue involves chiropractic adjustments to fix the alignment and a targeted strengthening program to maintain the proper tracking position.

8. I am an avid runner. How can I prevent running injuries?

Running injuries are a common problem, but the chance of experiencing them can be decreased by taking proper precautions. Using a foam roller regularly, applying ice or heat to aching areas, and keeping up with stretching routines are crucial to maintaining proper tissue and joint health. For the most effective prevention, visit a chiropractor regularly to help keep the body healthy and prevent future injury. 

We pride ourselves in our caring and long-term relationships we develop with our patients, so to request an appointment, please contact us today. We look forward to seeing you.

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10515 Braddock Rd STE B Fairfax, VA 22032
Across from George Mason | Call Today: (703) 672-1661

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Hear What our Patients Say

Dr. Ward and his staff are fantastic! When I came for my first visit, I was welcomed warmly and didn't wait long at all. Each time I was able to make an appointment without any problems. The pain in my hips has improved significantly and faster than I was expecting. Having found this wonderful office, I am able to be active again without pushing through pain.

Abby C.
Fairfax, VA

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