Running overuse injuries and non-surgical treatments

Running overuse injuries and non-surgical treatments

Ross Hauser, MD

This article will discuss various overuse injuries affecting runners.

If you have questions about Running overuse injuries and non-surgical treatments, Get help and information from our Caring Medical Staff

Many people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the best shoes and orthotics to try and fix their pain. I like to try new running shoes just like any other athlete, but it’s not all about the shoes or orthotics, especially when it comes to injuries.

Doctors from Balgrist University in Zurich writing in the German language Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie (Journal of Rheumatology) provide us with a summary of the problems of overuse injuries in runners.

Wear and tear and osteoarthritis. Too many variables to say running causes osteoarthritis

Dr. Guangxin Ni of Fujian Medical University in China wrote in the American journal Current sports medicine reports that studies investigating the effect of running on risk for developing osteoarthritis at weight-bearing joints have reported with conflicting results. Generally, moderate-level running is not likely to cause damage leading to osteoarthritis in the weight-bearing joints.

Dr. Ni, however, does point out that many factors may be associated with the increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in runners. Factors often implicated in the development of osteoarthritis comprise those that increase joint vulnerability and those which increase joint loading.

It is therefore suggested that running has different effects on different people. Efforts should be made to identify those with joint vulnerability and joint loading, and measures should be taken to have those factors and/or their running programs modified to run safely.2

What is joint vulnerability in runners?

In a heavy cited paper, Dr. David Felson of Boston University School of Medicine wrote in Clinical orthopaedics and related research:

Joint damage occurs when structures protecting the joint fail. Because osteoarthritis consists of end-stage joint damage, I propose that risk factors for disease can be best understood as either impairments of joint protectors, increasing joint vulnerability, or as factors that excessively load the joint, leading to injury.

Dr. Felson separated separating joint vulnerability factors into those increasing joint vulnerability including malalignment (joint instability), muscle weakness, and aging, among others. Dr. Felson also separated those that cause excessive loading (obesity; certain physical activities).

Osteoarthritis and cartilage loss can occur without pain. Dr. Felson focused separately on factors associated with pain in those with osteoarthritis. Those with pain are more likely to have effusions, bone marrow lesions, synovial hypertrophy, and tendinitis and bursitis around the joint.3 What Dr. Felson wrote is something we call whole joint disease.

Runners are  often told to stop running or to drastically reduce their running miles. While some runners may need to do this for a short time, often the runner who sees a Prolotherapy doctor, can get back to running much more quickly. The techniques of Prolotherapy are discussed and demonstrated in the videos above.

If you have questions about Running overuse injuries and non-surgical treatments, Get help and information from our Caring Medical Staff

1 Tschopp M, Brunner F. Diseases and overuse injuries of the lower extremities in long distance runners. Zeitschrift fur Rheumatologie. 2017 Feb 24. [Pubmed]

2 Ni GX. Development and Prevention of Running-Related Osteoarthritis. Current sports medicine reports. 2016 Sep 1;15(5):342-9. [Pubmed] [Google Scholar]

3 Felson DT. Risk factors for osteoarthritis: understanding joint vulnerability. Clinical orthopaedics and related research. 2004 Oct 1;427:S16-21. [Pubmed] [Google Scholar]



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