Running into Pain | Dr. William Knudson

running-shoe-371625_640Dr. William Knudson says running is a fantastic way to stay healthy. It burns plenty of calories, improves cardiovascular function, and can help tone and tighten out-of-shape leg muscles. However, running is also a high-impact activity and can lead to serious foot, ankle, or leg injuries. Here, Dr. Knudson addresses common running injuries.

Q: What is Achilles tendinitis?

Dr. William Knudson: Achilles tendinitis refers to an injury of the Achilles tendon, which is the tissue that connects the heel bone and calf muscle. It requires a medical diagnosis and often resolves within weeks. It is a common injury in adults and teenagers who play sports that involve running, especially for those who partake in physical activity only occasionally. Key symptoms are tenderness and pain in the heel.

Q: How is Achilles tendinitis different from sesamoiditis?

Dr. William Knudson: Sesamoiditis is an overuse injury that affects the forefoot. It results from repeated trauma to the sesamoid bones which are located behind the big toe. The sesamoid bones provide leverage and act as a weight-bearing surface. In addition to running, sesamoid bone injuries are common in those who play football, tennis, basketball, and golf.

Q: What are the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome?

Dr. William Knudson: Tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause a shooting pain, numbness, or the sensation of an electrical shock toward the bottom of the foot or inside of the ankle. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by nerve compression and is often treatable at home under a doctor’s supervision.

Q: Is all lower leg pain considered to be shin splints?

Dr. William Knudson: While “shin splints” is often used as a generic term for any pain that occurs in the lower leg, not all shin pain can be defined as actual shin splints. Shin splints is common in runners and is frequently caused by over worn shoes, inadequate stretching, or over pronation. Other causes of anterior shin pain include compartment syndrome and stress fractures.