Running In Pain? Massage To The Rescue!

Outdoor running season is now upon us!  With that said, more people are getting back into running or running a lot more.  Most runners are used to aches and pains that are associated with the repetition of running on the roads & trails.  However, when the pain from running doesn't go away and persists, it can easily put a halt to your training.  This is where corrective sports massage comes in to get you back to your best running performance.  What are some of the conditions that massage can help relieve?  Read on to find out.

Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) & Runners Knee

One of the most common problems runners face is knee pain associated with the illiotibial band (IT Band).  The IT Band is a ligament that runs from the outside of the hip to the knee which helps stabilize the joint at the knee.  When the IT Band becomes too tight & inflamed from the repetitive nature of running, thats when the runner starts feeling pain & swelling on the side of the knee.  At first, the pain will come & go, but when ignored long enough, the pain can be a constant just when walking normally.

So what can be done?  Many believe R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) helps, but all that does is take you out of training.  It could take weeks, if not months, for symptoms of ITBS to go away.  That can completely ruin your outdoor running season!  I know many who believe foam rolling the IT Band is the answer.  Unfortunately, the IT Band is a thick band of connective tissue that cannot be stretched & manipulated by a foam roller (it just really hurts).  

The best way to take care of this problem is through manual therapies such as sports massage.  At Pain Relief Massage, you'll receive a proper assessment to where pain may be coming from, and get relief for pain symptoms.  Once we discover where the problem is coming from, you'll get recommendations on how to do your own self-care so that the problem doesn't get worse.  Typically we see positive permanent change after 3-4 consistant appointments when it comes to ITBS & Runner's Knee symptoms.

Shin Splints


The umbrella term for lower leg pain under the knee.  What are shin splints?  To put it simply, it's when there is too much contracted muscle over the tibia and fibula bones.  This can be due to overpronation while running, inadequate stretching, crappy shoes & too much stress from overuse.  It usually happens to beginner runners or when a runner switches up from their normal routine by adding more mileage to their run.

Doctors will tell you to stop running and use ice on the inflamed areas until the pain goes away.  Unfortunately shin splints do take time to heal, even longer if theres a stress fracture.  You can read more about stress fractures HERE.  So what can corrective sports massage do?  It can certainly speed up the healing process.  We would break up tight contracted muscle tissue in the shins, and work into the calves where some of the problem may be stemming from.  The entire leg would be treated to reduce muscle compression over the bones of the lower leg.  Are shin splints the bane of your existence?  It may be time to come in for sports massage.

Plantar Fasciitis

Another common painful condition that can be caused by running.  It starts off with feeling the pain in the heel first thing in the morning.  It generally goes away after a few moments and then it doesnt come back until possibly later in the evening.  As it progressively gets worse, it takes longer for the pain to go away.  It can get to the point where the pain persists all the time.  It can get bad enough where surgery may be the only means to provide relief. 

Obviously the repetition in running is very stressful on the foot, especially when it comes to road running.  I noticed that those who suffer most with plantar fasciitis are new runners who have improper foot strike, crappy shoes with no arch support, and not stretching enough after a run.  My advice is to slowly foam roll the calves and use a tennis ball in the arch of the foot to provide some temporary relief.

At Pain Relief Massage, we've been able to help several people with plantar fasciitis recover much faster so that they can get out there and start running again.  This generally consists of sports massage to the entire leg so that we can promote healthy blood flow to areas that need it.  Especially in tight calves that generally play a role in plantar fasciitis. 

Decrease Pain & Increase Performance

Several of our clients who've initially come in for running related pain are now mostly pain free.  After decreasing pain symptoms, regular sports massage can increase performance.  Several of our athletic clients get massage before & after their running events to perform at their best & recover faster after the run.  

Do you have running related pain?  Have you ever considered sports massage?  If this sounds like something that could help you, then it may be time to make an appointment.  If you have any questions about sports massage for running you can ask below in the comments.  Interested in making an appointment?  You can do so easily online HERE.  In the meantime, be careful out there, and never neglect stretching & self-care after the run!

Shawn BellesComment