Running provides an excellent workout, but sometimes pounding the pavement brings aches and pains. When you run, your foot hits the ground with a force several times your bodyweight. That means a 150-pound runner’s foot could bear a half-ton of pressure with each footfall. Is it any wonder that just about every runner deals with a running injury at some point?
Sore muscles usually recover with rest, ice and massage. But when pain lingers – from groin pain to a twisted knee or aching heel – our running injury experts can find the cause and help you get back in motion.
With our team of orthopedic and sports health experts on your side, you can recover from running pain and return to peak performance.
We offer one of Wisconsin’s largest sports health teams, including physical therapists, athletic trainers, primary care sports medicine doctors, orthopedists and surgeons. Having all of this expertise in one unified health system means that we can provide the answers and care you need, when you need it.
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A running injury can happen to anyone, but you may be at greater risk if you:
Chronic or sudden aches and pains may leave you wondering if you need to see a doctor. If your pain is long-lasting or seems to come and go, treatment may be necessary.
However, if you have difficulty catching your breath, chest pain or numbness, see your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room.
The most common types of pain that indicate a running injury are:
Some knee pain doesn’t go away with rest and ice, or it feels worse when you climb stairs or stand. If you experience this kind of pain, you could have a condition called runner’s knee or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. This condition occurs where the tendon that connects the knee and hip swells and tightens.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation or irritation on the bottom of the foot, where the arch meets the heel. It commonly happens when people increase or change their running activity. If you think you may have plantar fasciitis, a doctor can evaluate your foot and recommend treatment.
The Achilles tendon is the stretchy band at the back of your heel. If this area is painful or swollen, you could have Achilles tendonitis. This condition is best treated with therapy to prevent possible permanent damage.
Pain that lingers in your foot, heel, groin or thigh – and gets worse when you push on the bone – could indicate a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone that requires treatment to heal.
Tendons – bands that connect muscle and bone – run along the inside of your ankle to your arch. When these tendons get inflamed, you’ll feel pain in your arch and ankle. If the pain lingers, you may need a doctor’s care to prevent future damage.
Shin splints are pain below the knee that usually occurs when you’ve pushed too far, too soon. They can happen when you’re trying to beat your best time, adding another mile to your route or finishing your run without a cooldown. Most shin splints can be treated with rest, stretching and ice.
A misstep or fall can twist or bend your ankle. If the ligaments (tissue bands that connect bones) in your ankle stretch too far, they can cause small, painful tears – commonly called sprains. Using noninvasive treatments like bracing and physical therapy, we can evaluate and treat your sprain so you can get back to running.
When you come to us for treatment, our doctors will examine your leg or foot to see how it behaves when you move it. They’ll also ask about your pain level, your running routine, your health history and anything that has changed recently.
If our team suspects a stress fracture or needs more information, they might order an X-ray or other imaging to see inside your bones and joints.
Once we’ve diagnosed the source of your running pain, we’ll recommend possible treatments. Together with you, we’ll discuss your care plan, which might include: