Runners running.

Why Do Sports Medicine Experts Focus on Running?

At Cincinnati Children’s Running Medicine program, our experts understand the training and competition demands of running.

Our specialists, who are trained to care for youth and adolescent runners, are experienced in the unique rigors and requirements of running. Our team will work with the runner, family, and running coach to ensure the runner’s return as quickly as is safe to do so.

Given the physical and technical demands of running, injuries and pain are not uncommon. Our team-based approach strives to minimize time lost to running, and prevent injury from recurring, through

  • Striving to meet the athletic demands of running
  • Understanding that many running injuries are a result of overuse, improper training, and / or improper technique
  • Realizing the demands of running along with understanding the injury
  • Assembling a team approach to treat the runner, including doctors, physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, nutrition experts, and sports psychologists.

What is the impact on the body?

Running has many benefits, including improving strength, balance, coordination, and personal growth.

However, the physical nature of running puts significant demands on the bones, muscles, and tendons, while the specific training demands pushes the runner’s cardiovascular limits

This combination puts the runner at risk for injury. With early intervention and attention to proper training and form, injury does not have to be inevitable.  

Common Running Injuries

Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s Disease)

Growing children and adolescents have a growth plate in their heel. Very active children involved in running and jumping sports sometimes apply too much stress to the heel than the growth plate can tolerate. This, unfortunately, leads to heel pain with activities such as running. It is usually treated through reducing running activity, proper strength and stretching programs, as well as form correction.

Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)

Running applies stress to the shins. For some runners, the stress applied to the shin during running exceeds the body’s ability to tolerate that stress, leading to pain. For most runners, reducing running is the first step to help address this pain. Still, some runners do not get better with rest. Seeing our multi-disciplinary medical team for an evaluation is important to accurately diagnose the injury and establish a treatment plan. Treatment plans incorporate strengthening exercises, stretches, running form, and training. 

Hip Flexor Pain

The hip flexors lift your leg toward your next stride and help to control how far your leg moves behind you while running and sprinting. Hip flexor pain, or hip flexor tendonitis, occurs usually when a runner is sprinting, running uphill, or a combination of both activities. The pain is usually local to the front part of the hip joint. Training errors, form faults, and hip muscle imbalances may contribute to the injury. While modifying your running training is helpful, it is important to see our multidisciplinary medical team to properly diagnose the injury to speed up your recovery.

Patellofemoral Pain

Running puts significant strain on the runner’s knee. This can lead to tendonitis and patellofemoral pain in the runner’s knee. This is usually due to a lack of strength elsewhere at the hip or thigh, or due to muscle inflexibility or poor running form. The important step in fixing knee pain is identifying the causes and addressing those issues.

Iliotibial Band (IT Band) Syndrome

The iliotibial band is thick connective tissue on the outside of our thigh and knee that functions to stabilize our leg and knee while running. Runners with IT Band pain often have pain to the outside of their knee with running, especially when running fast, running downhill, or running for a long period of time. The injury is often related to muscle strength imbalances and running form faults. Our multidisciplinary medical team can help diagnose the problems to get you on the road to recovery.

Low Back Pain

Running is a great activity to maintain your back health; however, some runners will experience back pain during or after running. If the pain interferes with your ability to run or recover the way you want to, it is important to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Oftentimes, modifying training and / or your running form can help, along with proper stretching and exercises to improve your back health.

Running Medicine Services

No one understands a runner like a runner. Our team of running medicine specialists, who are pediatric-trained physical therapists with years of experience treating runners and a history of high-level running themselves — offer on-site and running medicine services to meet the needs of runners.

Running Injury Clinic- Multidisciplinary Team

The running injury clinic is a multidisciplinary clinic consisting of a sports medicine physician and a physical therapist to evaluate children, adolescents, and young adults participating in recreational or competitive running who:

  • Have a running-related injury. 
  • Are returning to running after injury. 
  • Want to prevent injury. 
  • Want to improve their running form and performance after injury.

Who would benefit from the program?

  • Injured runners.

Who should I contact for more information?