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Runner's Season

With the weather changing and spring on its way, it is that time of year when running enthusiasts start gearing up. Some of you are casual light runners, while others are starting to train for the Pittsburgh Half or Full Marathon.

My wife began running right after our third child, with the intention of losing some baby weight, and continues to run two years later. Currently, she is training for her second Half Marathon. She ran eight miles this past Saturday and will continue to increase mileage as the Pittsburgh Marathon approaches on May 3rd.

Running is a great form of exercise and serves many different purposes: increased energy, weight loss, improved lung and heart health, improved endurance, or even for sport and competition. So, no matter what type of runner you are, or if you are new to the running scene, here are some basic tips and guidelines to follow:

  • First, start slow and build up your speed and mileage as you go. The more you do it, the easier it will become. It is easy to become discouraged if you are not running as far or as fast as you think you should be, but be patient and stick with it.
  • Second, keep track of your mileage and keep a log. This will allow you to see the progress you are making, set new goals, and continue to make more and more strides.
  • Third, find a running buddy. Some people like to run alone, while others enjoy the company of a partner. It helps, especially if you are new to running, to have a partner or buddy to keep you motivated and driven on those lackluster days you do not feel like hitting the pavement.
  • Lastly, challenge yourself and have fun. Running can be a great way to lose weight or improve your health, but it can also be a great stress reliever. No matter what your goal is, make sure you are having fun and enjoying your runs!

Even with all the health benefits, runners can still end up with little aches and pains along the way. Two common running injuries are “Runner’s Knee” and “IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome”.

Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) is caused from irritation of the patella (knee cap) that rests on the femur (thighbone). It is usually a result of weak quadriceps (thigh) muscles that cannot adequately support the patella, which over time causes knee pain. It can present as a sharp sudden pain or a dull ache in the knee. A good way to prevent Runner’s Knee is to regularly stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your quads. This will decrease your chances of developing the condition and prevent future knee pain.

IT band syndrome is another common injury suffered by runners. It presents as pain in the hip, outside leg, or on the outside of the knee. The IT band is a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of your leg from your hip to the outside of your knee. When it becomes inflamed it can become very painful to walk or even to sleep if you lay on your side. You have to stretch the IT band regularly and ice it down when it starts to become sore to prevent further inflammation.

These are common conditions we see in the office and have successfully treated. We would be happy to show you stretching and preventative exercises or offer the proper treatment if these injuries become a nuisance.  So next time you go out running…stretch, have fun, and stay safe.

Yours in Chiropractic,

Dr. Michael Baleno
Scott Chiropractic


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