Back to school time is a busy time at the Sports Acupuncture Mtl Clinic. Among the new patients who were added to my schedule yesterday, 3 of them are participating in the Montreal Marathon. This momentous affluence can be explained in part by the date of the marathon approaching fast, it will be held on September 23 rd. This year, around 35,000 runners are expected to participate in the various marathon races. As the marathon date approaches quickly, many runners begin to worry about the pains that persist despite conventional care. For others, it is a pain or injury that occurs as a result of increased training volume.
Although, for many, running may seem like a trivial activity, this sport requires a good combination of technique and technology, in addition to serious training. It’s easy to get hurt while running. It is said that almost 80% of runners get injured each year. Even for triathlon and Ironman athletes – who make up a large part of my clientele – injuries usually occur during the running part of the sport. The majority of running injuries occur when changing shoes or increasing training volume. It is therefore very important for runners to surround themselves with a good coach, a physiotherapist and, of course, an acupuncturist who is trained and experienced in sports acupuncture.
How can acupuncture treat the frequent running injuries? How can it help you prepare for a marathon?
Frequent running injuries and their treatments
The most common injury that brings runners of any level at my clinic is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation, irritation or tear of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band that extends from the heel to the base of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. It is often due to inappropriate footwear, poor running technique or a rapid increase in training volume. It is treated very well by the combination acupuncture and tuina massage. The key is to adequately treat muscle tensions in the calf because that is where the problem starts. I often add to my treatments the application of a Chinese herbal medicine liniment called ZhengGuShui and sometimes recommend herbal foot bath.
Achilles Tendonitis is the second most common injury I treat in runners. The Achilles tendon is the continuation of the large muscles of the calf, the soleus and the gastrocnemius (triceps surae). Like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis of the Achilles tendon occurs when shoes or running techniques are inadequate, or when there is an increase in the training volume. Lack of flexibility or muscle tension, especially in the calves, can contribute to this injury. Achilles tendinitis may also cause retro-calcaneal bursitis, which is also very common. This consists of an inflammation of the bursae, this little bag that prevents the tendon from rubbing against the bone. It is located between the calcaneus (the heel bone) and the Achilles tendon. The success of the treatment lies in the treatment of the tendon itself and the calf. Over the years, I have developed a very effective approach to treating these injuries and the many runners I have treated in recent years can attest to this.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Another common problem in runners is patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee”. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the most common cause of knee pain, and is often worse going up or down stairs, as well as when running. It occurs when there is misalignment of the patella due to poor leg posture, weakness or lack of flexibility of the leg muscles. The collapse of the arch and some muscle imbalances in the hip can also contribute to patellofemoral pain syndrome. When we know how to identify and correct the musculoskeletal imbalances that cause this problem, acupuncture treatments are very effective.
Prevention and sports performance
Acupuncture is not just for treating muscle and joint pains and injuries. It is an important ally in the optimization of athletic performance. Treatments can help you prepare for your race or marathon by enabling faster and better recovery, relaxing muscle tension and activating muscles that could be inhibited, and ensure the optimal function of you cardio-vascular and musculoskeletal systems.
You can include regular acupuncture treatments to your preparation routine for your marathon. To all the runners who will participate in the Montreal Marathon we wish you a good race and a good experience.
Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about what acupuncture can do for you or your training partners.