Offload Your Running Pains
By Orla Magorrian MISCP M.Sc Sports Medicine CSCS
Orla is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Strength and conditioning specialist, she can be found at
Functional Training Ireland. Functional Training Ireland is a multi-disciplinary practice that specialises
in the treatment of running related injuries.
All Runners at some stage will experience an injury, whether the novice building up to their first
10K or the experienced marathon runner. Injuries fall into two categories: Traumatic Injuries and
Overload injuries. Traumatic injuries are were a part of the body undergoes a sudden force in a
direction it should not move in which results in anatomical structures getting damaged or at worst,
ruptured or fractured. For example, the soccer player who twists his knee and ruptures major
ligaments. Overload injuries are where certain parts of the movement chain (your whole leg is
a ‘chain’) take more pressure during a movement than what they are able to tolerate and therefore
become inflamed and painful. As running is a straight -line activity, most injuries that occur are due
to overload as opposed to trauma (unless a runner trips and falls!).
Common structures that can get injured are the Ilio-Tibial Band (ITB) and the lower leg- Shin Splints.
ITB – Knee Pain
The ITB is a collagen strap that starts at the lateral (outside) part of your hip and travels down
the outside of the leg, and inserts below the knee joint. Its role is to stabilise the hip as you place
weight from one foot to the other- your pelvis moves in a sideways direction. It gets overloaded if
muscles around the hip do not stabilise the area as much as they should. The ITB does not have a
high component of elastic tissue therefore it cannot be stretched! The best way to recover from any
overload injury is to offload the painful structure. If the hip muscles (glutes) begin to work harder,
this will then release the ITB and free it up from structures around it (quads and hamstrings). Using a
foam roller is a good way to do this.