How to Make Your Run Free of Pain

Skier, mountain biker, runner and Physical Therapist Jared Beckstrand
shares his top 5 tips on how to deal with some of those painful running

Unfortunately, if you run you probably hurt at one time or another during
the year. If not you then you know someone who hurts when they run. Did
you know that research shows 50% of recreational runners are injured at
one time or another during the year? Start training for a marathon and that
number jumps to an astonishing 90%! The next time you’re on the starting
line at your next marathon look around you… 9 out of 10 people
experienced some kind of injury, some kind of pain, some kind of
debilitating problem to get to that starting line. A podiatrist friend of mine
says that the real accomplishment in a marathon is just making it to the
starting line! According to
there are 427 running races scheduled this year in Utah. Think of it! 427
opportunities to experience the thrill of triumph or 427 opportunities to

So what do we do about running injuries? How do we prevent them and
what do we do once we have them? The following is a list of the most
common running diagnoses as well as descriptions of some simple
stretches and exercises you can perform to keep you going.

1. Illiotibial Band Syndrome (“Runner’s Knee”): caused by excessive
friction over the outside part of the knee right near the joint line.

a. Foam Roll:

b. IT Band Stretch: Kneeling on all fours cross your unaffected leg
front of you affected leg (try to get your leg parallel to your shoulders).
Lean backwards and sit towards the ground until a comfortable stretch is
felt in the outside of your affected leg. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Perform 2-3 x daily.

2. Anterior Tibialis Tendonitis (“Shin Splints”): pain in the front of your
shin just below your kneecap

a. Toe Drag Stretch: place affected foot behind you with toes
Pull your body forward while keeping your toes in place to feel a stretch to
the muscle on the front of your shin. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Perform 2-3 x daily

b. Heel Raises: Standing on the edge of a stair let your heels drop
Rise up onto the balls of your feet. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 1 x

3. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (“PFPS”): pain to immediately to one side
of your kneecap (most often the outside)

a. Foam Roll: Lay on your affected side with foam roll at the level of
hips. Using your arms and non-affected leg roll your affected leg up the
foam roll. Return to starting position and repeat. Perform 3 sets of 10
repetitions (about 3 minutes worth). Perform 2-3 x daily.

b. Pretzel Stretch: Laying on your back with your knees bent, cross
heel of your non-affected leg over the knee of your affected leg. Roll over
onto your non-affected side and use your heel to push your knee closer to
the floor until stretch is felt down the outside of your left leg. Hold 20
seconds. Repeat 3 times. Perform 2-3 x daily.

4. Plantar Fasciitis: pain on the bottom of your foot, most commonly
where the arch meets the heel

a. Toe Stretches: Place affected foot with toes on the wall. Keeping
heel on the ground lean towards the wall until a stretch is felt in the bottom
of your foot. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Perform 2-3 x daily.

b. Towel Scrunches: With affected foot on towel, slowly bunch up
towel by curling your toes. 3 sets of 10 repetitions (or about 3 minutes
worth) 1-2 daily.

5. Greater Trochanteric Bursitis (“Hip Bursitis”): pain over the outside
part of the hip

a. Piriformis Stretch: lay on your back with your knees bent. Cross
affected leg over the other and pull unaffected leg towards you until stretch
is felt in buttock/hip of top leg. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Perform
2-3 x daily.

b. Hip Abduction: Lay on unaffected side with unaffected leg bent.
Holding your affected leg straight and keeping hips “stacked” on top of
each other use the muscles on the side of your hip to raise the leg towards
the ceiling. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Once daily.

For downloadable exercise sheets including pictures of all of these
workouts please visit our website at

If you do hurt after a run, another helpful principle to remember is the
acronym “RICE”—Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These things can
be helpful in mitigating your body’s inflammatory response and pain
following a running session.

If you hurt while running there are resources available. While these
exercises can be beneficial they are in no way comprehensive. The fastest
way to a full recovery is to be seen by a healthcare professional specializing
in movement mechanics who can treat not only your symptoms but, more
importantly, help to identify and then treat the cause of your pain; thereby
improving your running mechanics and help you go longer stronger.

For more details regarding Mountain Land Physical Therapy’s Running
Rehab please visit our website at

Keep going,

Jared Beckstrand, DPT
Mountain Land Physical Therapy
Director, Downtown Outpatient Clinic
508 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Phone: (801) 521-9222 Fax: (801)521-9333

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