Knee Pain And Other Running Injuries
Running injuries can affect anyone, from experienced runners who push themselves hard, to beginners whose muscles are not used to running.
Below are 5 of the most common running injuries. Find out how to spot the symptoms, what causes the injuries, and what to do if you get one, including when to get medical help.
You’ll also find tips on how to avoid becoming injured in the first place, such as choosing the right shoes and warming up properly.
Being injured can dent your motivation, so we have also included tips on how to get yourself up and running again once you have recovered.
Whatever your injury, it’s important to listen to your body. Do not run if you’re in pain, and only start running again when you have recovered sufficiently.
Causes Of Hip Pain That Radiates Down The Leg
Our hips and legs can get tired from the way we live, and the more overweight you are, the more likely it is that your joints will hurt. Most of the time, the best way to deal with joint pain is to lose weight, but hip and leg pain isnt always caused by joint issues.
Pain in the hip can come from anywhere in the area, and it travels down the nerves into the lower leg. This can hurt your thigh, your knee, and the area around your feet.
Common Causes Of Pain Behind The Knee
Where do we start with making an accurate diagnosis?
Generally, most doctors use a methodological process to confirm or rule out causes. Firstly, we perform a thorough assessment to test the joints, ligaments, and tendons that pass across the back of the knee. Then, we consider imaging to confirm our thinking. X-rays often pick up major arthritis in the knee. MRI can detect soft tissue problems such as tendonitis or muscle tear. Occasionally, we perform other tests such as blood, ultrasound, or nerve studies depending on the presentation.
Generally, the more common causes of pain behind the knee include:
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Medial Collateral Ligament Injury
The medial collateral ligament runs along the outside of your inner knee to stabilize the joint. If the ligament overstretches, you may have an MCL sprain.
The MCL can also tear partially or fully. An MCL injury most commonly occurs after force is applied to the outer knee, such as in contact sports.
Symptoms of an MCL injury include:
Hip Pain Radiating Down The Leg To Knee
Hip pain sometimes travels down to the knee or lower leg, causing difficulty performing daily activities. The pain usually occurs in the front, back, or side of the hip. The nerves running through the hip to the legs carry this pain to the thigh, knee, and lower limb.
This hip pain can also cause stiffness in your joints and muscles. As a result, youll struggle standing up, driving, sitting, walking, and even putting on shoes.
There are many causes of hip pain radiating down the leg to the knees, such as hip osteoarthritis, labral tear, sciatica, and iliopsoas bursitis. Its recommended to visit a professional health care provider in the early stages to get on-time treatment.
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What The Knee Needs
Your bones and cartilage need regular movement to keep them healthy, and also to strengthen the knee’s surrounding muscles, which protects the joint from excess stress, says Dr. Tenforde.
Not only can being active keep knee osteoarthritis from becoming worse, it also may reduce the risk of getting the disease in the first place. A study in the June 2017 Journal of Orthopaedic& Sports Physical Therapy reviewed 17 studies that involved almost 115,000 people and looked for a connection between running and osteoarthritis in the hip, knee, or both.
Researchers found that only 3.5% of recreational runners people who run for exercise and also compete in races like 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons got knee or hip osteoarthritis, compared with 10% of people who were not active.
Also, a 2015 study found among people who had mild knee osteoarthritis or were at risk for the disease, those who walked an average of almost 7,000 steps per day about 3.5 miles did not experience any additional cartilage loss over a two-year period.
If you have a high level of knee pain that makes movement difficult, Dr. Tenforde recommends you begin with lower-impact activities that place less stress on your knees. For instance, swimming and other forms of water aerobics offer buoyancy, so there is less impact on your knees. Elliptical trainers and stationary bikes are also good low-impact activities.
Treating With Ice Or Heat
Heat or ice can be beneficial in the management of musculoskeletal pain.
Ice is most beneficial if your knee problem is related to an injury. You can try heat to help your pain levels if there’s no swelling and your symptoms are not related to a recent injury.
Never place ice or heat directly on your skin. Use a barrier, like a towel, to protect your skin from a burn.
How long you use ice as a treatment can vary. However, you should generally apply heat or ice for up to 15 minutes. You should also leave a few hours between treatments.
You should stop treating the area with ice or heat and seek advice from a medical professional if you notice an increase in redness, discolouration or blistering of the skin.
If you have any issues with circulation or sensation, you shouldn’t use ice or heat as a treatment for knee pain.
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What Can You Do For Pain In Hips And Knees
The first recommendation I make, if the pain is not chronic, is to exercise correctly. The saying No Pain, No Gain, does not hold true when it comes to hip and knee pain. Especially if the pain comes from arthritis. Switching to a low-impact exercise, like a stationary bike, stair stepper, rowing machine, or yoga are great options. Swimming is an excellent exercise that doesnt place weight on your hips and knees.
Sometimes the answer can be as simple as an orthotic insert in your shoe to help distribute weight away from your arthritic joint. Other non-intrusive solutions include oral anti-inflammatories, such as Tylenol or Motrin. Braces can also be helpful. In many cases, pain can also be controlled through corticosteroid or lubricant injections. Physical therapy can greatly improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the joint to take pressure off of the joint.
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain and usually affects people over fifty years old. It occurs when cartilage which protects the bones degenerates. Symptoms include:
- Knee pain develops gradually over time.
- Initially, this may be a deep, aching pain in the inner knee.
- Pain is worse after exercise.
- You are likely to have stiffness and sometimes swelling in the joint.
- Sometimes clicking or cracking noises are heard when moving your knee.
- More on Osteoarthritis of the knee
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Symptoms Of Hip And Knee Pain You Shouldnt Ignore
Being active is the norm for many of us who live at the beach. Sometimes, we can start to experience aches and pains in our hips and knees, the bodys largest joints. Most times the pain will dissipate, but other times the condition could be more serious.
Hip pain and knee pain is often caused by an over-use injury from a repetitive motion. Such as swinging a golf club or tennis racquet. Surprisingly, even a less strenuous activity like gardening can cause a pain in the knee or hip pain. Other common causes include osteoarthritis, bursitis, or an injury or fall.
So, if I have sharp pain in the hip or knee and I have the 5 symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, how do I see a physician? The quick answer is to simply give us a call at 904-JOI-2000 or you can schedule online.
Repetitive Strain Injury Of The Hamstring
Repetitive strain injury of the upper leg is caused by consistent repetitive use.
Top Symptoms: upper leg numbness, thigh weakness, hamstring pain from overuse
Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the hamstring: hamstring pain from overuse
Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the hamstring: upper leg injury, severe upper leg pain
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What Can Help Hip Pain That Radiates Down The Leg
Many things can cause this type of pain. You can try some hip stretches as well as rest, ice, and warm packs. If your pain seems to remain the same or get worse, it is important to see a doctor so you can receive proper treatment. Stretching is very important in this, and there are some stretches that you can do at home, to help relieve some pain symptoms, like the hip stretch or hamstring stretch.
Contact us at Carolina Orthopedic & Neurological Associates for more information, and to speak to our specialists.
How Will It Affect Me
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you will probably feel your knee is painful and stiff at times. It may only affect one knee, especially if youve injured it in the past, or you could have it in both. The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your knee, and it may improve when you rest. You might have some stiffness in the morning, but this wont usually last more than half an hour.
The pain can be felt all around your knee, or just in a certain place such as the front and sides. It might feel worse after moving your knee in a particular way, such as going up or down stairs.
Sometimes, people have pain that wakes them up in the night. Youll probably find that the pain varies and that you have good and bad days.
You might find you cant move your knee as easily or as far as normal, or it might creak or crunch as you move it.
Sometimes your knee might look swollen. This can be caused by two things:
- Hard swelling: when the bone at the edge of the joint grows outwards, forming bony spurs, called osteophytes .
- Soft swelling: when your joint becomes inflamed and produces extra fluid, sometimes called an effusion or water on the knee.
Sometimes osteoarthritis of the knee can cause the muscles in the thighs to weaken, so your leg may look thinner. This weakness can make the joint feel unstable and could cause the knee to give way when you put weight on it.
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Prevention Tips For Knee Injuries
- Warm up joints and muscles by gently going through the motions of your sport or activity and stretching muscles.
- Wear appropriate footwear.
- Avoid sudden jarring motions.
- Try to turn on the balls of your feet when youre changing direction, rather than twisting through your knees.
- Cool down after exercise by performing light, easy and sustained stretches
- Build up an exercise program slowly over time.
Brief Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.
The knee is formed by the following parts:
Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.
Patella. This is the kneecap.
Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles , which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles , which bend the leg at the knee.
Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia .
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How Do You Describe Your Pain
I know, its a tough question sometimes, Dr. Burg says. But you probably can tell the difference between a dull, throbbing pain and a sharp, burning sensation.
Thats important. A sharp, burning sensation moreoften indicates an irritated nerve rather than a joint or ligament problem. Onthe other hand, you might describe pain from arthritis as more constant andachy.
Take A Warm Bath And Stretch
Take a warm bath, and then gently stretch your muscles. If you have pain in the lower part of your leg, try pointing and straightening your toes when sitting or standing. If you have pain in the upper part of your leg, try to bend over and touch your toes.
You can do this while sitting on the ground or standing up. Ease into each stretch, holding each position for five to 10 seconds. Stop stretching if your pain gets worse.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine when leg pain warrants a trip to the doctor or the emergency room. Schedule a doctors appointment if youre experiencing:
- swelling in both legs
- leg pain that continues to get worse or persists beyond a few days
Go to the hospital immediately if any of the follow occurs:
- You have a fever.
- You have a deep cut on your leg.
- Your leg is red and warm to the touch.
- Your leg is pale and feels cool to the touch.
- Youre having difficulty breathing and you have swelling in both legs.
- Youre unable to walk or put any weight on your leg.
- You have a leg injury that occurred along with a pop or grinding noise.
A number of serious conditions and injuries may cause leg pain. Never ignore leg pain that doesnt seem to be going away or thats accompanied by other symptoms. Doing so could be dangerous. See your doctor if youre concerned about your leg pain.
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Reducing The Strain On Your Knees
Apart from keeping an eye on your weight, there are a number of other ways you can reduce the strain on your knees.
- Pace your activities dont tackle all your physical jobs at once. Break the harder jobs up into chunks and do something gentler in between. Keep using your knee even if its slightly uncomfortable, but rest it before it becomes too painful.
- Wear shoes with thick soles and enough room for your toes. Wearing the right shoes can reduce the shock through your knees as you walk and prevent any changes to your feet.
- If you need extra support for your feet or knees when you walk, speak to your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or doctor about getting insoles made for your shoes.
- Use a walking stick if needed to reduce the weight and stress on a painful knee. An occupational therapist can advise on the correct length and the best way to use the stick.
- Use a handrail for support when going up or down stairs. Go upstairs one at a time with your good leg first.
- Think about making changes to your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain. An occupational therapist can advise you on special equipment that will make things you do every day easier.
Using a heat pack or something similar on a painful knee might help to relieve the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. An ice pack can also help but be careful not to put ice or heat packs or hot water bottles directly on your skin wrap them with a tea towel or cover.
What Should I Do About Achilles Pain When I Run
To treat achilles pain at home, Andy recommends applying ice to the area if you can feel a lump there . You can also gently massage the area with your fingers.
You could also try using heel wedges in your shoes. Get advice about this from a sports or running shop.
See a GP or a physiotherapist if you have achilles pain that does not disappear after 3 to 4 weeks.
If you have a sudden, sharp pain, your achilles tendon may have torn. See a GP straight away if this is the case.
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Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury
The lateral collateral ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee. It connects the outer side of the femur and tibia and is primarily responsible for stabilizing the outer aspect of the knee.
An LCL injury is often the result of a blow to the inside part of the knee this causes the LCL to stretch beyond normal and can result in partial or complete tearing of the ligament.
Symptoms may include soreness on the outside of the knee, swelling, and stiffness. You may experience instability a feeling that the knee is unstable and going to buckle or give out.
32 million adults in the United States.
With aging, the cartilage that helps cushion the ends of bones in the knee joint can wear thin and eventually allow the bones to rub together. Pain, stiffness, and loss of joint movement can follow.
Some people have more significant wearing of the cartilage in the outer compartment of the knee joint and this can lead to lateral sided knee pain.
The Anatomy Of Hip Joint
The hip joint consists of a ball and socket joint. The thigh bone is the ball that fits into the hip socket. The hip socket is known as the acetabulum. It is covered with a soft tissue or fibrocartilage called the labrum.
The labrum maintains stability and enhances the surface area of the hip joint by 22%. However, it is susceptible to wear and tear and several injuries, like impingement, congenital malformation , and joint laxity.
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