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Five Things to do While Injured

by: Preston Johnson

Being injured is tough. Not being able to get out the door and run, or feel the pavement beneath your feet as you run, the breeze on your face as you fly down the road, or even the strain in your legs as you finish a hard workout. It can be both mentally and physically debilitating. As I go through setbacks in running I try to focus on five rules I have set for myself to help me through the injury.

1. Get Healthy: This first one is pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how often it is forgotten. Being injured often means more than just not running, it means taking a break from anything that causes discomfort to your injury.
It also means taking the necessary steps to getting healthy, if your injury requires physical therapy get it, if your muscles need a sports massage you need to get one, if you need to be on crutches make sure you use them consistently. Injuries don’t just magically disappear so make sure to introduce them to the treatments that will be of the most benefit. Read More….

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IT Band Friction Syndrome – When Knee Pain Comes From the Hip


What is the IT Band?

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a very thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip down the outside of your leg and connects on the outside of your knee.  Your glutes, hip abductor and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscles all connect into this band.


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What is IT Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS)?

A sudden increase in mileage (over a 5% increase in one week) or excessive downhill running can cause the IT band to rub and create friction on the outside of the knee creating pain.  Since the IT band has fibers that also connects into the outside portion of the kneecap this can also be a source of pain at the front of the knee.

What Causes ITBFS?

Remember Newton’s 3rd Law of motion that “every action has an equal & opposite reaction?”  During running, every time our foot hits the ground with a certain amount of force the same amount of force is also exerted from the ground back up through our foot and into our leg.  If the musculature involved (usually the muscles on the outside of the hip) cannot contend with these increased impact and force requirements, then the body can start to break down and often times this occurs at the knee.  A rapid increase in running distance, downhill running, or running on slanted or graded surfaces (the same side of the road every run) forces the legs to undergo a significant increase in impact and force.

How Do I Fix It?

Decreasing your mileage temporarily until your symptoms subside then increasing more gradually sometimes can help initially.  Increasing your cadence (steps per minute) can help because it decreases the time your foot is on the ground, limiting the returning force the ground can exert back.  There is research data to indicate runners with ITBFS may have weaker hip muscle strength on the affected side.  So strengthening those muscles on the outside of your hip is KEY and is very simple with performing either, or both of the following exercises (to be performed every other day at 3 sets of 10 or 15 reps):


The following stretches after your run will also be helpful to loosen those tissues & muscles on the outside of your hip holding each stretch for 30-45 seconds, 3 times daily:





Bret Maiers received his Doctorate degree in physical therapy from Eastern Washington University in 2010.  He is a board certified orthopaedic clinical specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association and is currently the clinic director for Mountain Land Physical Therapy at their Stansbury Park location. In his spare time Bret enjoys running and both watching and playing sports.

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Plantar Fasciitis – Prevention, Causes, and Treatment


By Zachary Kernan

John had been training for the St. George Marathon for the past 10 weeks and as life will have it, work and family obligations took their toll on his training schedule.   Expense reports had come due and the kids had been sick for the previous 4 days, preventing him from running for the past 3 weeks.  This was going to be John’s second marathon and he’s loosely followed a training program that he found online.  The training guide indicated that his mileage should have been at 38 miles for the week with a tapering schedule anticipated over the next 2 weeks. 

 John was quite nervous about the marathon and was concerned that his training program had not been adequate enough for him to finish the 26.2 mile course.  In an effort to catch up and prove to himself that he’d be able to complete the marathon, John skipped ahead on his training program and completed the current week’s prescribed 38 miles. 

 John was on his long run of 20 miles and at mile 16, began to feel an achiness through the arch of his right foot.  The ache was initially dull and John was able to push through the run as it did not affect his pace.  The next morning, John threw back the covers, stepped onto the ground and experienced a sharp pain through the bottom of the heel and the arch of the foot.  The discomfort slowly dissipated by the time he was walking out the door on his way to work.  After being on his feet for most of the day at work, John felt that aching foot come back to haunt him. 

John is experiencing plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of foot pain in adults and one of the most commonly cited injuries among long distance and marathon runners.   Pain is typically experienced through the arch of the foot or through the bottom of the heel.  Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically at their worst with the first few steps in the morning and/or with prolonged standing and walking.

The plantar fascia is a thick piece of tissue connecting the heel to the 5 toes.  Its purpose is to provide stability through the arch of the foot.  There’s a higher incidence of plantar fasciitis in the running population compared to the general population due to the repetitive impact, or microtrauma, of the plantar fascia.  The bones and ligaments of the foot must withstand forces that are equal to 3-4x your normal body weight with running.  This repetitive microtrauma can overload the plantar fascia with faulty biomechanics or with overtraining. Read More….

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The “Achilles Heel” of Distance Running

“Myth” Busters

The warrior Achilles is known as one of the greatest heroes in Greek Mythology.  He was strong, courageous in battle, and nearly invincible everywhere but in his heel.  An arrow shot directly to this area ultimately led to his downfall.  This is where the term “Achilles heel” originates from.

Unlike the warrior Achilles most of us don’t fight in epic battles.  However, if you are out beating the pavement, logging miles, you’ve likely had a dustup or two with your own Achilles.  The Achilles most runners battle with is the Achilles tendon.

The Achilles is the large thick tendon extending down from the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) and connecting to your heel bone (calcaneus).  The calf muscle is responsible for generating the power you need to push off of your big toe and propel forward as you begin your running stride.  The Achilles tendon is the bridge that helps translate that power into action and is a vital component to an efficient running form.

Achilles tendonitis is typically an over use injury.  This means, like most runners, you don’t listen to your body and back off when your calf is crying uncle.  Other factors that increase the likelihood of this occurring are ramping up your training too fast, having overly tight calf muscles, or the smaller possibility of having a bone spur that is rubbing on the tendon.

Read More….

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Forty-two percent of runners experience knee pain, making it the most common injury among runners. Patellofemoral pain is the most common diagnosis of those younger than 50 years old with knee pain.


Pain in the front of the knee that is worse during squatting, lunges, stairs, or sitting for long periods of time (during car rides or at the movie theater). Pain is usually described as a dull ache, and occasionally a sharp pain. At first, knee pain will occur after a run and as the pain worsens it may be prominent during a run. There is not usually a specific injury, but a gradual increase in pain with increased activity. Females have a higher risk for developing patellafemoral pain.


It is thought that pain is caused by bad alignment of the patella (knee cap or the flat triangular bone located at the front of the knee joint), causing an irritation of the undersurface of the knee cap. The top of the patella is smooth, but the undersurface has a vertical ridge running down the middle that corresponds to a valley made by the end of the femur (thigh bone). The patella is housed in the quadriceps tendon – all four quadriceps muscles attach to the patella, and the tendon inserts just below the knee. If the quadriceps are weak, it is likely the patella is not optimally aligned during knee movement. Also, weakness or decreased flexibility at the hips can lead to pain at the knee, because the musculature surrounding the hips and pelvis controls the motion of the femur as well. It is generally accepted that patellofemoral pain is multi-factorial, and not just a result of a single limitation. The following have been identified in research, specifically in those with patellofemoral pain: 1. weakness of the quadriceps, and hip abductors (group of muscles that bring the hip away from midline of the body)

2. Decreased flexibility of the IT band, quadriceps, and hamstrings

3. Poor dynamic control when stepping down (the knee will often move across midline of the body)

Read More….

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Stress Fractures: What are they, How Do I Prevent Them, and What Can I Expect If I Develop One?

by Brian Boyle, PT, DPT

Stress Fractures Defined
Stress fractures are easily described as tiny cracks in bone which occur from overuse. Repetitive forces, such as those in long distance running, promote the regeneration of bone cells, however rest allows for the addition of new bone cells. If you are not getting enough recovery you will start to fatigue the bone putting you at a much higher risk for a stress fracture.

Where do Stress Fractures Occur?
The most common areas where stress fractures occur in runners are in the shin (tibia) of the lower leg and in the long bones (metatarsals) of the foot. But stress fractures can also occur in the hip and in the thigh (femur) of runners and while less common, are no less important.

If you suffer a stress fracture you may experience any of the following:
• Swelling
• Pain
• Tenderness over a specific spot
• Increased pain and swelling with activity
• Earlier onset of pain with successive workout
• Continued pain even at rest as damage progresses (www.mayoclinic.com)

Read More….

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