What Happens When Your Legs Hurt From Running

ZZ Top legs

We see a lot of leg pain in the clinics of our doctors here are Health Inspiring.

What do you do when your legs hurt? Well we have a list of a few common injuries to take a look at, and what to do if you think you may have yourself an issue.

And before and/or after, take some inspiration from this ZZ Top classic. If you were around for it, you probably (hopefully) still love it, and if you’re a young runner, take a look- these are the rock legends before Bastille showed up on stage.

Here’s how injuries work in case you were wondering: if you catch them early, you can often beat and not stop your training.

“Often it comes down to whether you take a little time off now or a lot of time off later,”  says Dr. Price M.D., a sports doc at Rocky Mountain Orthopedic Associates in Grand Junction, Colorado. As soon as you feel some pain it’s time to start thinking about what’s going on, and take the right steps or else you’re likely to end up on the injured list for a lot longer. Says the good doctor,  “Physical therapy is like homework,” Dr. Price says. “None of us likes having to do it, but if you don’t do it, the issue will come back.”

So in this post, lets look at a favorite:

Shinsplints
“Shinsplints” is the common word for medial tibial stress syndrome, this ache comes from tiny tears in the muscles around your shin bone (tibia ). And it’s common. About 15 percent of running injuries are shin splints.

Who Gets ‘Em?
Are you a new runner? Have you taken a long time off of running and are back at it? Or the most sneaky variety: have you cranked up your training suddenly?  You think you’re finally getting on board with some good exercise and KABAM! You have shinspints. They’re a sign that you’ve done too much, too quickly. Shinsplints will get you when you wear the wrong shoes-  a pair that’s too old (400 miles is a commonly recommended cap), and people with high arches or flat feet.

Can You Keep Going?
Bike, pool run, and swim.

When the first pain starts to set in, the thing to do is chill out a little and back down the miles you’re putting in IF you can get down to a level that isn’t giving you pain- otherwise it’s time for a full break.  After a week or so, you can start slowly applying the 10 percent rule (no more than 10 percent increase per week).

Rehabilitation
Rest, ice, and ibuprofen can ease the pain. Though conventional wisdom has preached calf stretching as a way to rehabilitate shinsplints, there’s little evidence that helps, Price says. Taping the shin with Kinesio Tex tape can relieve pain and speed healing. Wearing an air cast ankle brace throughout the day—even while running—can speed recovery. These braces stabilize the ankle so the shin muscles don’t have to work so hard to support your leg.

Keep the Shinsplints from Coming Back
The easiest and best way to avoid shinsplints is to increase mileage gradually. The right shoes make a big difference. Beginners, especially, can benefit from the professional help at a specialty running shop. If you have high arches, you may need a cushioned shoe. Or if you have flat feet, a rigid shoe might be the solution, he says.

The Next Level
How about doing something with lateral movement like getting a game of tennis or basketball in. Moving in different directions will keep the shins in good health.

Here are the QUICK BITES:
STOP!
Tenderness down the leg, especially if you hop on it. If walking (not just running) hurts, it could be a fracture.
Proceed with Caution
Tight, aching pain when running, but the pain goes away when you stop. Hopping isn’t painful.
Get Back to It
Completely pain-free while running—even long after you stop applying ice and taping your shins.

 

 

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