One of the oldest and arguably least expensive athletic hobbies, running provides people with a great way to lose weight or stay fit. But when they come to a screeching halt after common orthopedic injuries, runners find themselves left in the dust. That’s why working with a medical professional to create an early conservative treatment plan as soon as pain or discomfort arises is an essential first step to help avoid surgery. Thankfully, there are often simple ways to deal with some of the most common conditions before they require surgery so runners can hit the road again in no time.
An annoyance to casual running and a hindrance to intense race training, almost every athlete encounters the dreaded runner’s knee at some point. Generally described as pain around the kneecap, the technical name for runner’s knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome. It is characterized by pain or discomfort near the top of the kneecap and is caused by a wearing down of the cartilage, which is the firm but flexible connective tissue beneath the kneecap. So what’s the best course of treatment? Strength training. Most often, runner’s knee is caused by overuse of muscles that aren’t accustomed to the impact of running and other sports. Strengthening quadriceps, hips, back, and core can help runners heal faster and get back to painless running sooner. It is always best to have a trained physician evaluate an injury to determine the extent of damage and other possible treatments.
These painful lower leg afflictions are most common among new runners or those who do too much, too fast. Although doctors and scientists aren’t entirely certain of what exactly they are, it is generally believed that shin splints are tiny tears in the muscle, inflammation of the tissue sheath on the shinbone, general muscle inflammation of the lower leg muscles, or any combination of the above. The first thing a runner suffering from shin splints should do is to stop running or cut back drastically. Muscles need time to heal, and overuse will only exacerbate the issue. Other forms of self-treatment include foam rolling, gentle stretching, wrapping the calves and shins, and cross training to avoid further injury. Dr. Greiner may also prescribe a walking boot or recommend physical therapy to aid in the healing.
This often debilitating condition is caused by injury to the plantar fascia, the band of tissue running across the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. Typically caused by unsupportive shoes, especially for runners who are overweight or have flat feet, plantar fasciitis can make even some of the lowest impact activities incredibly painful. Dr. Greiner offers a range of treatments for plantar fasciitis, including stem cell therapy and injections to help speed up healing time. While it can take weeks or months to resolve, limiting activity contributes to faster healing times.
At Greiner Orthopedics, we encourage those dealing with severe or lingering issues to contact us today at 816-317-5070. We are currently accepting new patients and serve individuals across the Kansas City Metro area from our convenient Independence location just off I-70.