The Importance of Sports Massage for Runners
What is Sports Massage?
Sports Massage is a special form of massage that is typically used before, during, and after athletic events to prepare the body for peak performance, by draining away fatigue, relieving swelling, reducing muscle tension, and promoting flexibility and motion range which are useful in preventing injuries.
Why is Sports Massage Important To Runners?
Runners are a unique group. Their drive and determination is unsurpassed. The single biggest mistake that runners make however, is continuing to push themselves, even while injured. Runners are typically highly motivated and dedicated to the sport. But, it’s critically important that runners do not let signs and symptoms of pain and injury go unchecked. This prolongs the recovery process and turns an acute problem into a chronic one.
Optimally, we like to see athletes on a regular basis to minimize the chance of injury. Bottom line: if you’re a runner, you need a regular check up when you’re training! Sports Massage is important to you as a runner for many reasons, including that it:
- Reduces muscle inflammation;
- Decreases muscle soreness;
- Mitigates soreness;
- Flushes out the lactic acid that is produced while running;
- Reduces muscle tension;
- Promotes muscle flexibility;
- Increases muscle flexibility;
- Improves muscle recovery time;
- Boosts mental alertness;
- Cuts muscle fatigue;
- Decreases your chance of developing a muscle injury.
What Problems can Runners Encounter?
Here at Everest Therapeutics Inc., we are a running family. We enjoy educating runners on the most optimal way to care for and enhance their bodies. And, we are able to see first hand how a runner’s body needs and responds to regular massage therapy. We believe that sports massage is critically important for runners. And, the more miles you run, the more strain your muscles are under and the more injuries the body can sustain. The following list includes some of the more common running injuries we see and what can be done to treat them:
- Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
The Iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the leg from the upper thigh to the knee. When the knee flexes and extends, the IT band slides over the bony part on the outside of the knee causing friction.
Commonly, the runner feels an ache on the outside of the knee, which can be aggravated by running. This condition can be brought on by tightness of the Iliotibial band and the hip muscles that blend into it. Weakness and atrophy around the hips are factors. Biomechanical issues such as pronated feet, bow legs or weak buttock muscles can cause this to occur.
This is an inflammatory condition and therefore ice needs to be applied after movement. A visit to Everest Therapeutics will help you determine the true nature of your injury and how best to treat it. Your therapist will educate you on when to use hot and cold therapies, and stretching techniques.
- Achilles Tendonitis
This tendon is located in the back of your calf. It connects your calf muscles to your heel. It is an extremely strong tendon and if injured must be addressed ASAP.
The physiology behind this injury is micro tearing of the tendon fibres. This results in inflammation and micro scarring. This condition can turn chronic and prevent the runner from running. This condition is often brought on by tight calves, stiffness at the heel or ankle joints and too great of an increase in mileage, speed or gradient.
Again, this is an inflammatory condition and therefore ice needs to be applied after movement and a visit to Everest Therapeutics to receive the appropriate therapy program.
- Shin Splints
This condition occurs deep in your lower leg muscles and results in micro tearing and inflammation where the muscles attach to the shinbone. Runners typically complain of pain along the front and inside of the shin, it increases after several minutes of exercise and may decrease as you continue to exercise. Pain gradually returns after exercise and you may notice a change in your gait. If your foot goes numb or looses circulation you want to have it examined for Anterior Compartment Syndrome.
Shin Splints are a result of biomechanical issues. Your therapist will help educate you on when to use hot and cold therapies and how to train while managing this condition.
- Plantar Fasciitis
This condition affects the bottom of your feet. Plantar Fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot and runs from the base of the heel to the base of the toes. It is a painful inflammatory condition. The runner will often complain of pain along the arch or bottom of the heel. The pain is worse in the morning and especially the first few steps after getting out of bed. It also aches after running. It may feel like a cramp in the arch that won’t go away.
With this inflammatory condition, your therapist will work with you on proper stretching of the calf muscles and supporting the plantar fascia to avoid pain and inflammation.
Your RMT, Your body
Sports massage therapy can play an important role in each of the possible running injuries and enhance the life of any active individual, whether you are training for an event or you simply enjoy a casual run. Our registered massage therapists at Everest Therapeutics’ Inc. can help you in your running massage treatment, depending on your specific needs.
To book an appointment with an RMT click here.