Runner’s knee is the most common knee injury that affects runners, cyclists, tennis players, soccer, football, basketball, and volleyball players. Runner’s knee results after a tear or long-term wear damage and deteriorate the tendon right below the kneecap. This injury though is not just found in athletes. Here are a few things that may cause a runner’s knee:
- Overuse: If you do a lot of repetitive bending or high-stress exercises, such as walking, biking, or jumping, then you may be irritating your knee joint.
Direct hit: If you’ve received a hit to the knee, such as a fall or a blow, then it may result in a runner’s knee.
- Misalignment: If any of your bones from your hips to your ankles are out of the correct position, including the kneecap, that can put too much pressure on certain spots in the knee joint.
- Problems with feet: When you have fallen arches (flat feet), over-pronation, or hypermobile feet (meaning that the joints in and around the feet move more than they should), this may change the way you walk, which may cause pain.
- Weak thigh muscles: The quadricep muscles in the front of your thighs keep your knee cap in place when you bend or stretch the joint. If they are weak, your knee cap may not stay in the right place.
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Torn Rotator Cuff
There are four rotator cuff muscles in your shoulder region. A tear in your rotator cuff affects the tendons of one or multiple rotator cuff muscles. It causes damage, achy pain, numbness, tingling, and shooting pain in the area of the shoulder, most typically when the arm is lifted over the head.
Hamstrings are the muscles of the back of the thigh that bend the knee and straighten the hip. Hamstring injuries typically affect athletes who run or perform high-impact moves. The hamstrings are prone to strains, pulls, tears, and serious muscle ruptures. However, most hamstring muscle and tendon injuries heal without surgery. You can reduce the risk of these injuries with a regular stretching program and simple exercises.
- Grade 1 strain: Grade I injuries tend to be mild in that they tend to heal fully with only minor aggravation to the injured.
- Grade 2 strain: Partial tear.
- Grade 3 strain: Complete tear or rupture.
Concussions result from serious head trauma, so severe that the brain rattles around in the skull. A concussion most often occurs from a blow to the head during contact sports (i.e., football or hockey), causing disorientation, vision problems, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and nausea.
The obvious symptoms of a concussion are passing out or losing consciousness. However, identifying a concussion is not always easy because every person is different. Contact a medical professional to perform an examination immediately. Head/brain MRIs and CT scans are useful in detecting if there is any bleeding or bruising of the brain.
Anterior cruciate ligament, aka ACL, injuries are another injury that results from sports with changing direction rapidly, slowing down when running, or landing from a jump. Your ACL is one of four ligaments in the knee that joins the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone. Falling off a ladder or missing a step on a staircase are other likely causes.
Symptoms of an acute ACL injury include:
- Feeling or hearing a pop in the knee at the time of injury
- Pain on the outside and back of the knee
- The knee swelling within the first few hours of the injury is usually a sign of bleeding inside the knee joint
- Limited knee movement because of pain or swelling or both
- The knee feeling unstable, buckling, or giving out
Preventing ACL injuries:
- Stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, especially the front and back muscles of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstrings)
- Avoid wearing shoes with cleats in contact sports
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes
- Avoid sports that involve lots of twisting and contact
Achilles tendinitis occurs when the tendon at the back of the ankle suffers repetitive stress. The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. It’s another common injury for running and jumping sports, leaving the tendon so painfully inflamed that running and supporting yourself on the affected leg is almost impossible.
The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing, or sprinting. You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity
If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, call your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.
Tennis and Golf Elbow
Elbow injuries are particularly common with sports that overuse the area (i.e., tennis or golf). They occur with the gradual degeneration of the epicondyle tendon of the elbow from moves, like repeated golf swings or tennis backhand strokes, resulting in inflammatory pain on either side of the elbow (the outside for tennis players and the inside for golfers).
A chiropractic doctor and physical therapist can teach you exercises to gradually stretch and strengthen your muscles, especially the muscles of your forearm. Eccentric exercises, which involve lowering your wrist very slowly after raising it, are particularly helpful. A forearm strap or brace may reduce stress on the injured tissue, which is helpful.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, the connective tissue on the sole of the foot and bottom of the heel, becomes painfully inflamed. You’ll typically know you have it from the shooting pains that strike the bottom of your foot as soon as you take your first run or steps after a period of inactivity. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. X-rays are useful in determining if there are possible stress fractures in the foot as well.
- Your feet roll inward too much when you walk.
- You have high arches or flat feet.
- You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- You are overweight.
- You wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
- You have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.
Possible treatment options:
- Give your feet a rest and cut back on activities that make your foot hurt.
- Placing ice on your heel to reduce pain and swelling.
- Chiropractors can recommend an array of exercises and stretches (i.e. toe stretches, calf stretches, and towel stretches).
- Get a new pair of shoes. Pick shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole. Use them in both shoes, even if only one foot hurts.
A strained groin results when the muscles located in the upper thigh are pulled too far, leaving the area swollen and bruised. Since the adductor muscles draw the legs together, you risk a groin strain in sports where you make sudden stops and starts while running with opposite directional changes, like basketball, soccer, hockey, and tennis. Specific exercises and stretches assist in the recovery of a strained groin.
Groin pain not caused by an injury to the groin may be coming from other parts of the body. This is called radiating or referred pain. Pulled muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the leg may cause symptoms in the groin. It is important to look for other causes of groin pain when you have not had an injury. Routine chiropractic adjustments of the full spine are helpful in maintaining healthy bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They are all connected to one another, which enables the body to move properly.