Posts Tagged ‘runners injuries’

Top 6 Reasons You Experience Knee Pain While Running

runners-kneeAs the name suggests, runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common ailment among runners. But it can also strike anyone who does activities that require a lot of knee bending, such as walking, crossfit, biking and cycling. But runner’s knee isn’t really a specific injury. It’s a loose term for any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap (patella).

Research has shown that runner’s knee is more common in women than in men, particularly in women of middle age. Overweight individuals are especially prone to the disorder.

Runner’s Knee Causes:

  • The pain of runner’s knee may be activated by a variety of causes. Here are the most common causes of runner’s knee:
  • Thigh and hip/buttock muscle weakness – Weakness in thigh, hip and buttock muscles causes a disproportional load on the kneecap, leading to abnormal wear patterns and inflammatory pain. This improper alignment and tracking can be due to an imbalance of strength between the group of muscles known as the quadriceps and gluteals. This imbalance in strength causes the kneecap to track improperly because it is pulled laterally and out of its track, or causes an increased stress to the cartilage surface underneath the kneecap.
  • Kneecap out of alignment – If any of the bones are slightly out of their correct position — or misaligned — the kneecap can’t smoothly follow its vertical track as the knee bends and extends. This causes wear and tear on the joint. That leads to overuse injuries like runner’s knee and, down the line, osteoarthritis, which can really put a cramp in a runner’s career.
  • Problems with the feet – Runner’s knee can result from conditions of the feet such as fallen arches or overpronation (flat feet). These conditions may excessively stress joints and tissues of the knee. You should always assess your running shoes when experiencing any aches or pains. Make sure they are not too old, and are the correct type of shoes for your feet (more arch support, etc.) Something as simple as an over-the-counter custom insert can help to correct runner’s knee.
  • Direct trauma to the knee – such as a fall or blow.
  • Overuse – Repeated bending or high stress exercises such as lunges, squats, stairs, hills and plyometrics can irritate the kneecap joint. Overstretched tendons as a result of overuse may also cause the pain of runner’s knee.
  • Your training plan – Next, evaluate your training plan. The key points to consider are: Have you been increasing speed or distance recently? Also, are you allowing for adequate recovery time? Increasing mileage too quickly or introducing speed too soon, increases the risk of injury.

Not sure if you have runner’s knee or not? Review these symptoms of runner’s knee. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may have to stop running temporarily until the knee pain subsides, but continuing to run will not cause long term damage. If your knee pain has not improved within 4-6 weeks, you should consult your sports medicine physician.

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About the Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our team of knee specialists are constantly conducting research and developing new techniques for diagnosing and treating the full range of sports-related injuries. Whether you are a professional athlete, or simply enjoy an active lifestyle, Emory provides comprehensive care, in a patient- and –family- centered environment, so together we achieve the best possible outcome and you can return to the sport you love. To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

About Dr. Hammond

hammond-kyleKyle Hammond, MD, spent his childhood in Johns Creek, GA and graduated from Chattahoochee High School before attending the University of Georgia. During his Emory residency, Dr. Hammond received the “Outstanding Resident Award”, and was twice the 1st runner-up in the Kelly Society’s Annual Research Award. Dr. Hammond’s research on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL Surgery) won the 1st place Award for Research at the Annual Southern Orthopaedic Association and Georgia Orthopaedic Association meetings. He also worked as a Resident Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory, and Oglethorpe University Athletics. After his time at Emory, Dr. Hammond was selected to the ‘world-renowned’ Sports Medicine, Shoulder Surgery, and Concussion Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. While in Pittsburgh, Dr. Hammond was the Associate Head Team Orthopaedic Surgeon for both the Duquesne University Football team and the University of Pittsburgh Men’s Basketball team. He also worked as a Team Physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the University of Pittsburgh athletics, Robert Morris College athletics, as well as the Pittsburgh Ballet. Dr. Hammond then moved on to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, New York to work alongside the renowned, Dr. Brian Kelly and learn his techniques in the field of hip arthroscopy.

Dr. Hammond has a special interest in ligament injuries to the knee, the overhead and throwing athlete, shoulder arthroscopy, joint preservation/cartilage surgery, and is one of the few fellowship trained hip arthroscopists in Georgia.

Dr. Hammond enjoys spending time with his wife and their twin boys. When he’s not busy with family and work, Dr. Hammond enjoys working-out, golf, tennis, baseball and football.

Additional Resources
Understanding Runners’ Knee aka Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Protect Your Knees at Any Age

5 Ways to Prevent Shin Splints

runners-shinYou don’t typically think about your shins until they hurt. But by then, you could be looking at some major downtime. A recent study showed that shin splints are the most common injury for new runners, keeping them out of activity for a whopping 72 days on average! Keep yourself active and healthy – check out a few easy tips to prevent shin splints from occurring in the future:

Building Strength

Shin splints often occur when your legs are overworked. That’s sometimes from a lot of mileage, and sometimes because your shins pick up the slack for body parts that are weak, such as your feet, ankles, calves, and hips, which support your shins. One easy way to avoid shin splints is to build strength in these areas. A few basic exercises include:

  • Heel Drop – Stand on your toes on the edge of a step. Shift your weight to your right leg and take your left foot off the step, then lower your right heel down. Repeat this same process with your left leg.
  • Monster Walks – With your feet shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band around your thighs and step forward and toward the right with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right, and then step out toward the left. Repeat.
  • Toe Curls – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart at the edge of a towel. With the toes of your left foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Repeat this process with your right foot.

Gradual Progression

Instead of running too much too soon, increase your speed and distance gradually. For building intensity and duration, 10 is the magic number. Increase your walking distance by 10% each week, while upping your run to walk ratio by 10% each week.

Cross Train

The impact of running can shock your system (another word here). Supplement miles run with other cardio exercises that are easier on your joints, such as swimming, cycling or rowing. Participating in yoga or Pilates is another great way to cross train and build core strength, which can help prevent injuries.

Arch Support

Minimalism may be the trendy new thing in running, but that doesn’t mean going barefoot is right for you. In fact, it may be causing you shin splints due to lack of arch support. Look for motion control or stability shoes, or add an orthotic insole to give you the support you need and keep your foot from rolling or overpronating.

Touch Down Mid-Foot

Hitting heel first leads the foot to slap down on the pavement, forcing the shin and foot muscles to work harder to slow you down. Running on your toes stretches the calf muscles in your leg. Try to touch down with a flat, mid-foot landing to avoid strain – a correct gait is essential to preventing injuries.

About Dr. Mautner

mautner-kennethKenneth Mautner, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. He has a special interest in the areas of sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy.

Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries. He currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, the Atlanta Ballet, and several local high schools.

About the Emory Sports Medicine Center

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. Our sports medicine patients range from professional athletes to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes.

Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are highly specialized in diagnosing and treating sports injuries within their respective area of focus.

We are proud to be the sports medicine team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Dream, Georgia Tech and provide services for many additional professional, collegiate and recreational teams.

Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours. Call 404-778-3350 today.

Understanding IT Band Syndrome

IT Band Syndrome IT Band Injury

Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, also referred to as IT band injury or IT band pain, is an injury that affects the outside of the  knee and is caused when irritation or inflammation of the IT band occurs.

If you have ever suffered from IT band syndrome, you know IT band pain is a pain you don’t want to feel again.  The good news is that you can prevent IT band injuries with strengthening and stretching exercises. Pay close attention and follow the information/suggestions here and you may be able to steer clear from the pain of IT band syndrome!

What is the IT Band?

The IT band is the long, strong, thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the leg.  It starts at the hip area and runs all the way down to just below the knee.  The purpose of the band is to provide stability to the knee during movement.

IT Band Syndrome Causes

An IT band injury is an overuse injury,  primarily caused by inflammation of the IT band.   Tightness in the IT band can cause friction  where the IT band crosses the knee joint.   Causes of IT band syndrome can include:

  • Running up and down hill repeatedly
  • Running on a banked or sloped surface (like an indoor track or edge of a road)
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Uneven leg length
  • Excessive foot strike force

IT Band Injury Symptoms

  • Stinging sensation above the knee
  • Swelling or thickening of the tissue where IT band moves over femur
  • Pain may intensify over time and may not occur immediately during activity
  • Pain occurs when foot strikes the ground
  • Pain may occur where the IT band attaches to the tibia

Preventing IT Band Syndrome

  • Warm up and stretch before competing or practicing
  • Recover properly between events/competitions/practices
  • Improve core strength with Pilates type exercises
  • Avoid running on banked surfaces
  • Avoid running the same direction on the track all the time
  • If you have flat fee, where arch supports or orthotics

Check out the exercises in this downloadable document: IT Band Stretching & Strengthening Exercises (PDF). And in this blog post, you’ll find more information on preventing running injuries.

IT Band Syndrome Treatment

  • Rest – most runners don’t want to listen to this advice but rest really will help alleviate the pain
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Ice the painful area
  • Improve flexibility by stretching
  • Physical therapy

We hope you can steer clear of IT band syndrome and keep your legs moving!


Peachtree Road RaceEmory Healthcare is a proud sponsor of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

Emory Healthcare is the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia and includes Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, Wesley Woods Center, Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Emory Adventist Hospital, The Emory Clinic, Emory Specialty Associates, and the Emory Clinically Integrated Network.

Come visit us at the AJC Peachtree Road Race expo in booth 527 to get your blood pressure checked and learn more about how Emory Healthcare can help you and your family stay healthy!


About Dr. Brandon Mines

Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream and Decatur High School. He is also one of the team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons.  His areas of interest are diagnosis and non-operative management of acute sports injuries, basketball injuries, tennis injuries, golf injuries and joint injections.