It’s finally summer! If you’re a runner you know what that means: time to ditch the treadmill and hit the pavement. Did you know massage therapy can improve your performance, help you prevent injury and mitigate the aches and pains that come with running? It’s true!
Here are some common issues runners experience and how massage therapy can help:
IT band problems
Common symptoms include:
- Pain while running in the lateral leg
- Glute tension and soreness
- Restricted range of motion
- Knee pain
Pain can occur when we commit to repetitive activity and overuse the same areas of the body. Running is a repetitive exercise and it’s important for runners to pay attention to their pain. Pain can also show up if we don’t allow our bodies enough rest between activities.
In addition to providing rest and relaxation, massage therapy can help runners with postural realignment in the lower back and hips; this can reduce inflammation in the IT band and the knee, as well as increase circulation. A registered massage therapist can also provide hydrotherapy and home care stretches to ensure you’re pain-free at home.
Shin splints (anterior compartment syndrome)
Symptoms to watch for:
- Pain, swelling and redness through the shins
- Flushed circulation and swelling to compressed and inflamed shin muscles
- An increase in pain while running that goes away with rest
Massage therapy releases tension to these muscle areas and decreases chronic or acute inflammation. A registered massage therapist will work with your body to stretch and lengthen muscles throughout the shin and foot; this can reduce persistence and chronic nature of these symptoms.
The major complaint from individuals with plantar fasciitis is pain through the bottom of the heel, but some might also feel it through the top of the foot. Additional symptoms include:
- Feeling pain after your foot has been elevated (i.e. getting out of bed in the morning, or standing after sitting for a long time
- Swelling and pain beginning in the heel, intensifying when the toes and calves are stretched
Massage therapy stretches and lengthens the calf muscles which attach into the foot. When these muscles are tight, they cause restrictions. And as always, improvements to circulation is key in order to help the plantar fascia heal Flushing to swelling and excess circulation through the ankle and calf will reduce pain and its duration. Joint mobilization through the feet and ankles may also be used to correct postural dysfunction caused by your running shoes.
Massage therapy is a great way to ensure your body is well taken care of and supported as you train. Whether you are moving through an injury, want to prevent pain, or would like a boost during your rest days, be sure to include massage in your running training plan!