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Piriformis Syndrome

About 60% of adult Americans will experience back pain sometime this year. It wouldn’t be a stretch (no pun intended) to say that some of them will be runners. Indeed, some of the characteristics and training of runners make them predisposed to back pain, especially a condition known as piriformis syndrome. Basically, piriformis syndrome is a deep, nagging pain in one buttock which may radiate to the back of the thigh that is worse with sitting and better with walking. Most of the time, it does not go past the knee. It can be confused with hamstring tendinitis as well as a disc problem of the low back. It is usually caused by tightness in the piriformis muscle, which then irritates the sciatic nerve. Contributing factors may include tight inner thigh muscles as … Read entire article »

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IT Band Syndrome

You’re outside. It’s a beautiful spring day. You’re feeling great, but about ½ mile into your run the outside of your knee, out of nowhere, starts to hurt. By hurt, I mean: stops-you-dead-in-your-tracks. You’re probably training for a race – and a thousand thoughts instantly run through your head, from the immediate, “How the heck am I going to get home?” to the more long term, “Can I even continue to train for this race?” Quite possibly, you have just been bit by ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome). But there is hope! Although it’s not completely innocuous, ITBS is actually a very common injury and one that is easily treatable through rest, stretching and strength exercises. The iliotibial band is a thick structure of white tissue, known as fascia, which stretches from a the … Read entire article »

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Shin Splints

Runners have probably complained of “shin splints” since Phidippides ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens. Of course, we don’t know if his shins hurt after that, because he died of exhaustion within hours of his arrival. Nevertheless, exercise related lower leg pain (ERLLP for the acronym loving, medical-literature readers) is a significant risk of training. Despite its high incidence in physically active people, relatively little is concretely known about its treatment. ERLLP, or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS, another fun acronym) is thought to be caused by excessive tibial loading (overtraining) over a period of time. In a normal tibia (the shin bone of the leg), as in any other bone of the body, bone is absorbed and reformed constantly. As long as bone is resorbed at the same level … Read entire article »

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Treating plantar fasciitis

On January 1st, millions of Americans committed or re-committed themselves, to running. For many of them, it was as easy as lacing up a pair of sneakers, bundling up, and heading outdoors. After a long layoff, as many of us take during the holiday season, and especially with the addition of a new activity, it’s no surprise that overuse injuries become more prevalent this time of year. One of the most common injuries that many runners and non-runners alike will face is plantar fasciitis. Almost all of us have either experienced this condition ourselves, or at least know one person who has suffered from it.  Physiologically, it is a repetitive micro trauma (also known as overuse) injury of the plantar fascia which can lead to pain along the inner aspect of … Read entire article »

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