Maximize Health has teamed up again with Griffith University for the Griffith Sport Toohey Trail Run. Held on Sunday October 9th, the inclusion of the Half Marathon this year is set to make this Trail Run bigger and better than before. To help you keep at the top of your game, Maximize Health has pinpointed the two most common injuries our physiotherapists see through trail running.
The Trail Run offers new challenges to traditional road races. Runners will take to the bush, navigating uneven and changing terrain through Griffith University Nathan Campus and Toohey Forest. No matter the distance you’re tackling, be it 5km, 10km or 21.1km, here’s what you need to look out for when you’re on this all-terrain track and what to do about it.
A common complaint amongst runners is sharp pain through the base of their heel. It is usually worse in the morning or after extended sitting. The pain may also reduce to more of an ache during activity. The pain is caused by overuse of the plantarfascia ligament. This is the ligament that runs from your heel bone to the base of your toes.
The role of the plantarfascia ligament is to provide support to the arch of your foot and absorb shock. When it becomes overused, the ligament starts to pull on its attachment at the heel bone. You may have also heard this pain referred to as plantarfascitis.
Caused by overuse, this injury could occur due to an increase in training load or change in training conditions. Some factors that place people at increased risk of developing Plantar fasciosis include:
- People with low or high foot arches
- Running regularly
- Tightness through the calf, hamstring and glute regions
- Increased BMI
Your physiotherapist will diagnose the injury through:
- A through history taking
- Assessing your gait (walking and running)
- Assessing your muscle length, strength and control
- Observation and palpation of the area
- Further investigations such as Ultrasound and Xray are often not needed
The best option to keep you participating in the sport you love should always be to consult your physiotherapist to guide your treatment. They will be able to advise you on activity modification, massage and taping to support the ligament. There are a few things you can do yourself at home to help with the treatment of your pain, including stretching your calf, hamstring and glutes. Standing and rolling a frozen drink bottle back and forth under the bottom of your foot will both ice and massage your plantarfascia.
Runners Knee (Patellofemoral Pain)
With such a high incidence among runners, Patellofemoral Pain has naturally earnt the nickname of ‘Runner’s knee’. It’s characterised by a dull ache around or under the knee cap. Walking uphill, downhill, or up and down on stairs as well as running or sitting for extended periods can aggravate the pain.
When bending or straightening the knee, the knee cap tracks up and down a small groove in the thigh bone. A tug of war is then played on the knee cap, with the tendon-like ITB (or iliotibial band) attaching onto the outside, and the VMO muscle of the quadriceps (Vastus Medialis Oblique), attaching onto inside. Characteristically the ITB band gets very tight and the VMO muscle weak. As a result, the tug of war becomes unbalanced and the ITB wins out making the knee cap track slightly out of its groove with each bend and straighten of the knee. This gives that achy type of pain in the front of the knee.
To treat patellofemoral pain, your physiotherapist will assess the biomechanics of your lower limb. From there they can determine its contribution and assess these with appropriate exercises to strengthen the VMO muscle. You will also need to make friends with a foam roller. This is the best way to address the tightness that builds through your ITB.
The Griffith Sport Toohey Trail Run offers a unique chance to push yourself through some great scenery toward a new personal best. While it won’t be an easy feat, you can still take the steps needed, both before and after the run, to give your body the best chance to perform and recover. It’s important to remember not to push any existing injuries past their limit and risk worsening and prolonging them. If you want to learn more about managing any aches, pains or injuries, the team at Maximize Health will be happy to help. Phone (07) 3343 5494 to get things on track.