Thigh pain and heel pain are common injuries experienced by runners. The Department of Physiotherapy from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) shares tips to treat these ailments.
Are you knowledgeable about the symptoms and basic treatment of common running injuries? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner, if you feel pain in your thighs or in your heels, take note of the following pointers offered by Ms Suelyn Chan, Principal Physiotherapist from the Department of Physiotherapy at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
1. ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome)
The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs along the outer thigh from the hip to the knee. ITBS occurs when this ligament thickens and rubs the knee bone, causing inflammation. Long-distance runners are more susceptible to this form of thigh pain.
Ice the affected area for 15 min.
Stretching exercises for your iliotibial band
Stand with your right leg crossed behind your left and lean to the left, keeping your right foot pressed to the floor. You should feel a stretch along the outside of your right leg from the hip to the knee. (Repeat with the left leg).
Strengthening exercises for your hip muscles
Lie on your left side and lift your right leg above the level of your right hip and bring it behind you to a 30-45 degree angle. Hold for 5-10 sec and repeat 15-30 times. (Repeat with the left leg).
2. Muscle strain (hamstrings)
This thigh pain is caused by a small muscle tear as a result of sudden movement or overstretching.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Strengthening exercises for your hamstrings
Lie on your stomach and radually bend your knee to a 90 degree angle, then lower it. Start with 8 to 15 reps three times a week. Repeat the exercise but this time, with the leg raised. Complete 8 to 15 reps, three times a week.
1. Plantar fasciitis
This is when the plantar fascia (the band of tissues connecting the heel to the toes) gets inflamed, torn or overstretched.
Ice the affected area and rest.
Stretching exercises for your calf muscle
Stand in a stride position one foot in front of the other. Keeping both feet flat on the ground and toes pointing straight forward, bend the forward leg till you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of the back leg. Hold 10-15 sec, repeat 3-5 times.
Strengthening exercises for your calf
Stand on your toes on the edge of a step. Move your body weight to your injured leg and slowly lower your injured heel while keeping your knee straight. Use your injured leg to rise up on your toes again. Do up to 3 sets of 15 reps and repeat daily for three months.
See the next page for
overall tips to prevent running injuries.
See page 1 for
remedies and exercises to treat
knee pain and shin splints.
Check out other running injury articles:
6 Ways to Relieve Muscle Pain After Exercise
What Causes Running Cramps?
Achilles Pain: What Causes It and How to Treat
Common Knee Injuries: Ligament, Tendon and Cartilage
Why You Shouldn't Ignore Running Injuries