They say only two seasons exist in Wisconsin: Winter and Construction. Though the construction is prevalent, it is not the only activity happening during the few and far between mild weather months in this great state. With the nice weather comes a renewed determination to be outside running and taking in every summer delight before the inevitable snow comes once again. It is around mid-summer time that our summer running warriors end up in our office with aches and pains associated with their new hobby.
Running can lead to all kinds of overuse-type injuries including stress fractures, tendinitis, and muscle strains. Running is a repetitive motion and any repetitive motion, if performed often enough, can lead to injury. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone that result from frequent and significant stress and are common in the foot and lower leg of runners. They occur most frequently in middle-aged and senior women with low calcium intake or osteoporosis. Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon due to overuse. Runners most often experience Achilles tendinitis where the calf muscle connects to the heel bone. The fibers that compose the tendon start to break down and then become inflamed and uncomfortable if not treated. Hamstring, quadricep, hip flexor, and calf strains are common muscle injuries seen in the running population. Hill workouts are particularly brutal on those hip flexors.
We certainly do not discourage our patients from running, as it is wonderful exercise; however, we do try to educate our patients so they can continue to enjoy their hobby without all of the aches and pains. When patients want to start running, we advise them to wean into the activity. It is easy to be gung-ho when the first sixty-degree day finally greets us, but going from zero to ninety can lead to injury as the body needs time to adapt to unfamiliar stresses. Another strategy we recommend is cross-training. Running is excellent cardiovascular exercise, but performing any activity in excess will certainly result in discomfort. Swimming, biking, and using ellipticals can provide you cardio junkies with lower-impact alternatives that will keep your running days pain-free. For you truly dedicated runners, try aqua-jogging at your local pool! Often times these injuries can also be avoided by getting back to basics. Remember to warm up those muscles before busting out a sub-twenty-minute 5K, cool down after they hang the medal around your neck, and ice those sore areas when you are home basking in glory.
If despite these tips and tricks you find yourself missing out on the great running
weather, call us at Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin to schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists. Dr. Zhu and Dr. Viehe have a combined 32+ years of experience in orthopedic surgery. They treat all of the previously mentioned conditions and will get you back to your preferred level of exercise. If one exuberant trail run goes awry and leads to an acute achilles tendon rupture, ankle fracture, or the dreaded ACL tear, they can fix that too-right here at The Orthopaedic Surgery Center! Whether the injury be chronic or acute, our board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians will keep you on the beautiful trails and sidewalks that the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Waukesha areas have to offer! Run on!
This blog is written by one of our very own-Morgan. She is a certified athletic trainer working as a medical assistant with our providers each and every day in our clinic. She obtained a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Carroll University in Waukesha and a master's degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. She is excited to bring you updates and information about the happenings at OAW.