Fifty percent of Americans who love regularly lacing up their running shoes for a run outdoors on the pavement will suffer from an injury each and every year. The injuries are not a result of training too hard, but rather a result of the way that people run. Depending on a runner's gait, he or she may have a stride that reaches way too far out or his or her legs may be landing on the pavement at an awkward angle, and causing strain on the tendons and muscles. Here are 4 common pains that regular runners are diagnosed with, and the gait analysis behind these injuries.
The Pain of Runner's Knee
Regular runners are susceptible to a condition known as runner's knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), which accounts for about 25% of all injuries that are diagnosed in runners. This condition causes sharp pains around or just behind the kneecap, and soreness at the point where the kneecap and the thighbones connect.
Runners experience runner's knee when their gluteal muscles are simply not strong enough to support the knee. As a result, the knees land at an awkward angle and are under a significant amount of stress after every stride since they bend either too far in or too far out.
The Irritation of Proximal Hamstring Tendinosis
If you have a tendency to overstride, then you may be susceptible to proximal hamstring tendinosis, which can become much more severe and result in tendon degeneration, partial tearing and even inflammation. You should feel irritation at the proximal hamstrings, which are at the back of your upper leg — right above the back of the knee. Because the tendons at this location are relatively thick and receive poor blood supply, it is difficult to heal from this condition, which only makes it worsen overtime.
The cause of proximal hamstring tendinosis can be boiled down to overstriding when you run. The legs are too straight when you land, and this causes your hips and your hamstrings to absorb excessive force, which leads to undue stress.
The Discomfort of Plantar Fasciitis
If you are experiencing any discomfort at the thick connective tissue located at the bottom of the foot, and near the heel, then you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. The main cause of this is not only related to your stride, but also to the type of shoes that you wear when running.
Plantar fasciitis is generally developed when runners begin landing at the front of their feet while wearing shoes that offer very minimal heel support. It can also be caused by overtraining. Basically, the tightness of the calves will cause the muscles to pull on the heel bone in an awkward angle causing this part of your feet to be under a lot of stress. Overtime, you will feel discomfort and pain as a result.
The Pain of Stress Fractures
Last but not least, if you experience sharp and persistent pains in your feet or in your shins, then you may be suffering from stress fractures. Stress fractures can be caused by a variety of reasons, and a proper gait analysis is required to determine what the source of the problem is. Most of the time, stress fractures are caused by overstriding and improper displacement of stress that has resulted. If your knees are swinging out way too much, you may experience stress fractures in your shin.
Getting a gait analysis can help you determine whether there are any problems with how you run. By correcting your stride and the angle of movement, you are able to improve your performance significantly (and perhaps reduce your run time), and also ensure that your muscles, tendons and ligaments are not under undue stress that can easily cause them to become injured. For help determining your gait, talk to a specialist in podiatrist sports medicine.