blog

Fixing the Top 7 Running Injuries

by Ashley Black

 

Welcome runners and athletes! If you don’t know anything about me, I overcame a debilitating bacterial infection of the bone system that spread throughout my spinal nerves and left me disabled. In this article, I’m going to share the self-treatment strategies that I used to bring myself back to “normal” and reasonably athletic in order to help you drastically improve your running and overall performance. I’m also going to share some of my own techniques from my two-decade career as a bodyworker in pro sports, which included working with Olympic sprinters and distance runners to help you improve your running, no matter your fitness level.

This blog will teach you several different techniques to self-treat, manage, and prevent common running injuries, but first, you will need a general understanding of fascia and my favorite fascia tool for runners and athletes – the FasciaBlaster® – as seen on the Today Show.

 

 

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Alignment, Biomechanics, & the FasciaBlaster®

 

.

I think all the “fancy” things we talk about in running can loosely fall into these three categories:

.

1. Healthy Tissue

2. Proper Alignment

3. Proper Biomechanics

 

 

Healthy tissue (fascia) is the first step in achieving proper alignment and biomechanics and the state of your fascia plays a huge role in your daily health and performance. If the fascia in your foot or ankle is tight, it will “pull” and cause tension on the surrounding structures which causes pain and tension over time and affects your ground strike and overall performance.

Those who have been following me know that one of the most challenging things for the fascial system is any type of impact, so if you do any impact sport – including running – it’s important to first make sure your fascia is fit and functioning!

 

 

Now let’s dive in, discuss, and solve the issues that commonly plague runners so you can get out there and do what you love pain-free! The following information contains practical strategies for you to implement that come from a place of fascia expertise.

 

According to Runner’s World Magazine the top 7 running injuries are:

1. Runner’s Knee
2. Achilles Tendonitis
3. Hamstring Issues
4. Plantar Fasciitis
5. Shin Splints
6. IT Band Friction Syndrome
7. Stress Fractures

 

These athletic injuries are all classified as “chronic injuries.” Chronic injuries develop over time, often due to repetitive use, whereas acute injuries occur as the result of a single traumatic event, such as being hit by a baseball or twisting an ankle. Running is probably the ‘mother’ of all activities that causes chronic injuries because of the insane number of ground strikes per session – up to 1,100 strikes per mile! You can imagine how important the execution of each ground strike is! Any seemingly minor deviation from perfect form, such as a foot or knee turned slightly out or any amount of pronation or supination can shift the distribution of impact, which has a compound effect over repeated training sessions. Read this research article for more on the relationship between the fascial system and athletic performance enhancement.

 

 


1. Runner’s Knee – Chondromalacia Patellae (CMP)

 

What Is Runner’s Knee?

The softening and deterioration of the articular cartilage on the underside of the patella (knee cap).

Why is the Cartilage Deteriorating?

If you aren’t moving in the correct way, (i.e. with correct posture, body mechanics, loading etc.), the soft tissue will tighten and clamp down to protect and stabilize, creating fascial and muscular tension. Over time, the tight tissue draws the bones closer and closer together, eventually banging and beating up the rubbery cartilage. If the movement pattern and fascial tension aren’t addressed, the damage can lead to degeneration. People associate degeneration with “normal aging”, but we believe restoring the fascial system and correcting your body mechanics can prevent and manage these symptoms.

 

Runner’s Knee Tutorial

Here are the steps to open and restore the fascia and other tissue and make sure there is no more scarring down:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for self-treatment of symptoms of Runner’s Knee. You may use your FasciaBlaster® product of choice. 

 

1)   Heat – click here for tips on heating

2)   Use the FasciaBlaster® on and all around the knee for 2-5 minutes.

3)   FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-5 minutes (fast, light strokes with your FasciaBlaster tool of choice)

4)   Do this “Quad Set” activation exercise

5)   Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues

6)   FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction for 2-5 minutes per area.

 

 

 

Hip Traction Technique

7)  Redo the Posture Test to see if your ROM improved and if the tension is lessened.

8)   Perform this hip traction technique

Repeat these steps 1 to 3 times a week for best results

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster

– Ice the area

– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary

– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes

Click here for more recovery tips.

 

Repeat these steps 1 to 3 times a week for best results

 

 


2. Achilles Tendonitis

 

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Inflammation of the Achilles Tendon

Why is the Achilles tendon Swollen?

Improper body mechanics and movement patterns lead to fascial tension and restriction of ankle motion. If not addressed, the tendon becomes inflamed and pain develops.

Here’s My Step-by-Step Fix for Achilles Tendonitis:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for self-treatment of symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis. You may use your FasciaBlaster® product of choice. 

 

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast the lower leg for 2-5 minutes

3) FasciaBlast the foot and ankle for 2-5 minutes

4) FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-10 minutes using fast, light strokes

5) Flush

 

 

 

 

 

Posture Test

 

6) Perform the“Posture Test”  to address alignment and posture issues

7) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 1-5 minutes per area

8) Redo the Posture Test to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened

9) Perform this hip traction technique

 

 

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster

– Ice the area

– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary

– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes

 

Click here for more recovery tips.

 

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 


3. Hamstring Issues

 

What Are Some Common Hamstring Issues?

Hamstring issues can include chronic tightness, strains, soreness, performance issues, and swelling. The hamstrings consist of a group of three muscles (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris) that are controlled by the tibial branch of the sciatic nerve. This muscle group’s function is to bend the knee (flexion) and move the leg backward (hip extension).

Why Are the Hamstrings Having Issues?  

Hamstring issues and injuries develop when improper movement patterns aren’t addressed, which leads to fascial and muscular tension and/or altered pelvic motion and positioning.

For example, if you stand with a sway back (anteriorly tilted pelvis), the hamstrings are placed in a lengthened position. When the hamstrings try to contract, they are unable to recruit enough motor units since the muscles are already stretched to their max length. This predisposes you to hamstring strains as well as joint and back pain.

If you stand with rounded shoulders and a posterior pelvic tilt, the hip flexors (iliopsoas) are in a lengthened position and the hamstrings are shortened. This results in dysfunction of both muscle groups, where neither the hip flexors nor the hamstrings can achieve efficient muscle contraction or the necessary range of motion for correct movement, leading to pain in the low back, hips, SI joint, and knee. For more information on biomechanics, compensations, and posture read my #1 National Bestselling book “The Cellulite Myth: it’s not fat, it’s fascia.”

 

 

 

Hamstring Tutorial

Here’s My Step-by-Step Fix For Hamstring Issues:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for self-treatment of symptoms of hamstring issues. You may use your FasciaBlaster® product of choice. 

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast the hamstrings for 2-5 minutes

3) FasciaBlast the glutes for 2-5 minutes

4) FasciaBlast the IT Bands for 2-5 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Glute Tutorial

 

 

5) FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-10 minutes using fast, light strokes

6) Flush the entire leg

7) Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues

8) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 2-5 minutes per area.

9) Redo the Posture Test to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened.

10) Perform this hip traction technique
Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 

 

 

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster
– Ice the area
– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary.
– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes
Click here for more recovery tips.

 

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 


4. Plantar Fasciitis

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is a catch-all term describing foot pain including heel pain in the plantar aponeurosis – a broad fascial band originating from the heel that fans out across the bottom of the foot and connects to each individual toe. The Plantar Fascia acts as a shock absorber and helps maintain the potential energy of the foot, assisting with locomotion. Simply put “plantar” refers to the bottom of the foot, “fascia” is the connective tissue, and “itis” means inflamed or swollen. Put it together and you get plantar fasciitis, or inflamed fascia in the foot.

WHY is the Fascia of the Foot Swollen?

Plantar fasciitis can have many different causes, so be sure to address all the causes of plantar fasciitis for best results. In general, improper body mechanics and movements create fascial line tension and stress in the feet and plantar fascia. This leads to inflammation and fascial recoil in the foot, causing the independent foot joints to be less mobile. It’s a vicious cycle of the foot “going on lockdown,” then you go running and ground-striking without the necessary mobility, then the fascia clamps down to protect and stabilize the area, then more lockdown occurs, and so on. Restoration is the only solution!

 

Plantar Fasciitis Tutorial

Here’s My Step-by-Step Fix For Plantar Fasciitis:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for treatment of symptoms of plantar fasciitis. You may use your FasciaBlaster® product of choice. 

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast your foot and lower leg for 2 to 5 minutes. Use fast, light strokes with your FasciaBlaster tool of choice.

3) Use the Nugget or tip of the Mini2 or Mini1 and do the “poke, wiggle wiggle” technique in-between the toes, bones, and tendons of the feet and ankles, as well as on the bottom of the foot. Then practice these joint mobility techniques to “pull” each individual toe out.

 

 

 

 

 

Nugget Technique for Feet

 

4) Flush the entire leg

5) Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues
(new video?)

6) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 2 to 5 minutes per area.

7) Redo the Posture Test to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened.

8) Perform this hip traction technique

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 

 

For post-treatment recovery:
Apply the After Blaster
– Ice the area
– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary.
– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes
Click here for more recovery tips.

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 


5. Shin splints

 

What Are Shin Splints?

Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, but it is another catch-all term that indicates anterior shin pain. Sometimes this condition can include compartment syndrome (a dangerous level of tight fascia) and microfractures of the shin.  

WHY is the shin area in pain? And WHY would the fascia be so tight? And WHY would microfractures occur?

 

 

Swelling and pain develop along the front of the shin bone (tibia) due to repetitive motion and impact such as running. If the movement or motions are incorrect, then increased stress and strain are placed on the surrounding structures – in this case the tibia. As tension increases, the fascia binds the anterior tibialis to the shin, creating a ‘locked down’ and less efficient muscle. This increases the impact on the tibia, yanks on the surrounding fascia, and can cause micro fractures. This article shows that tension in the flexor muscles of the lower leg and foot lead to MTTS symptoms

Think of it this way: when eating a pork rib, you see the meat and fascia pulling off the bone. Now imagine that tissue gripping so tight you can’t pull the muscle (meat) off the bone. The muscles would be inhibited to say the least, and totally unable to contract if the fascia becomes tight enough. The muscles also become nutrient deprived because blood flow and neural connections become impeded.

 

 

 

 

Here’s my step-by-step fix for Shin Splints to open the fascia of the lower leg and stretch the fascia that attaches to the bone:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for treatment of symptoms of MTTS or shin splints. If a stress fracture, micro-fracture, compartment syndrome or other condition is suspected or previously diagnosed, stop FasciaBlasting and seek the advice of a trusted professional.

 

Shin Splints Tutorial

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-10 min using fast, light strokes with your FasciaBlaster tool of choice.

3) Nugget/toe separate top of foot and Nugget bottom of foot and Nugget away from the bone alignment-video

4) Flush the entire leg

5) Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues

6) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 3 to 20 minutes per area.

7) Redo the Posture Test to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened.

8) Perform this hip traction technique

 

 

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster
– Ice the area
– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary
– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes

 

Click here for more recovery tips.

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 


6. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBS or ITBFS)

 

What Is IT Band Friction Syndrome?  

ITBFS is a common knee injury caused by inflammation of the distal portion of the iliotibial band (ITB), which results in lateral knee pain. The distal ITB slides over the lateral femoral epicondyle during repetitive flexion and extension activities, such as running. Excessive friction and potential irritation or inflammation develops, resulting in pain. People are also calling general lateral leg tightness ITBS. Click here for more information on IT Band Friction Syndrome and performance.

WHY is the Lateral Leg Tight, and WHY is there Friction?

The ITB is a tendonous and fascial band that runs down the side of each thigh from the hip to the shin. Although it’s supposed to be relatively tight, ITBS can occur when improper biomechanics, overuse, and impact cause tightness or inflammation. The large tendon on the lateral leg starts to fascial adhere to the hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups as well as the bony structures around the knee joint, creating sort of a “tug of war” between structures as the muscle groups counteract each other. This causes an immobile or “locked down” knee joint due to the tension created in the IT band. With repetitive movements such as running, the immobility associated with fascial tension as well as the friction of the distal insertion leads to swelling, inflammation, and pain.

 

 

IT Band Tutorial

Here’s My Step-by-Step Fix For IT Band Issues:

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for treatment of symptoms of Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome. You may use your FasciaBlaster® product of choice. 

 

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast the IT Band, quads, and knee for 2-5 minutes

3) FasciaBlast the hamstrings and the back of the knee for 2-5 minutes

4) FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-10 minutes using fast, light strokes with your FasciaBlaster tool of choice.

5) Use the Nugget tips of the Mini2 or Mini1 to do the “poke, wiggle, wiggle” techniques

 

 

 

 

 

6) Flush the entire leg

7) Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues

8) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 2 to 5 minutes per area.

9) Redo the“Posture Test”  to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened.

10) Perform this hip traction technique

 

 

 

 

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster

– Ice the area

– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary

– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes

Click here for more recovery tips.

 

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 


7. Stress Fractures

 

What is a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture, unlike an acute open fracture, is a hairline fracture of the bone that develops over time due to overuse or accumulated stress and trauma from repetitive impact such as running or jumping. Stress fractures often occur in the foot, ankle, fibula, and hip.

WHY is There Accumulated Stress?

Due to the constant repetitive motion that occurs during running, the fascial tension starts to pull and twist the bones out of alignment. If the fascia tissue is NOT open, loose, and serving as a shock absorber, then the muscles are not receiving proper blood flow and the high impact forces aren’t able to be evenly distributed across the body. The fascia will be triggered by the central nervous system (CNS) to protect, and the soft tissue in the lower leg will tighten or become “glued” together.  Every ground strike will challenge the dysfunctional structure, eventually pulling on it hard enough to cause stress fractures.

 

Disclaimer: This protocol is designed for self-treatment of symptoms of stress fractures. If diagnosed with a stress fracture, follow protocols established by your trusted provider.

 

Shin Splints Tutorial

1) Heat – click here for tips on heating

2) FasciaBlast above, below, and all around the area of possible fracture, but not directly on the injured area with your FasciaBlaster tool of choice.

3) FasciaBlast the entire leg for 3-10 minutes using fast, light strokes.

4) Use the Nugget between the toes and on the top and bottom of the foot to separate the tiny bones, tendons, muscles, and tissues from the bony structures of the foot.

5) Flush the entire leg

6) Perform the “Posture Test” to address alignment and posture issues

7) FasciaBlast the areas where you identified tension or restriction during the Posture Test for 2-5 minutes per area.

8) Redo the“Posture Test”  to see if your ROM improves and tension is lessened.

9) Perform this hip traction technique

 

 

Flushing Tutorial

 

For post-treatment recovery:

– Apply the After Blaster

– Ice the area

– Rest and take recovery days off if necessary

– Drink plenty of water with electrolytes

Click here for more recovery tips.

 

Repeat these steps 1 to 4 times a week for best results

 

 

 

 

The bottom line is: you need healthy tissue (fascia) as well as proper alignment and biomechanics to be able to move correctly and without injury. If you take the time to correct and restore your fascia tissue and structure now, you can enjoy running and high performance for many years to come!

Here are some of the incredible testimonials sent in by our users:

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave