Adding Insults to a Common Injury

Tis the season for new and strange feelings for our courageous runners as the Boston Marathon draws near. After contending with what has seemed to be an endless winter, runners are starting to realize that their bodies are nearing their limits. Aches and pains start to creep up unexpectedly and terms like ‘Shin Splints’, ‘ITB Syndrome’ and ‘runners knee’ are heard around watercoolers (perhaps a nice reprieve from the politics). Unfortunately, the squeaky wheels get the grease. They get all the buzz, but what about names like ‘Pes Anserine Bursitis’? It gets no respect.

pes anserinusThat a mouth full. The Pes Anserinus, refers to the conjoined tendons of three muscles that insert onto the front and inside surface of the upper medial aspect of the tibia. The muscles are the sartorius, gracilis and semitendinosus. Pes Anserinus actually means ‘Goose Foot’, referring to the way the three tendons lay. Deep to these structure you will find a bursa, a fluid filled sac that is designed to limit the tendons from rubbing against the bone. When overuse of these muscles reaches maximum load, the bursa becomes inflamed and pain is typically felt over that area. The condition is actually more common in runners than they know. Often, it is misdiagnosed both professionally and via ‘Dr. Google’ as ‘Runners Knee’, a throw away name that gets all the glory for random knee (area) pain.

Fortunately, if properly assessed, it can be treated. The hard part most of our runners have this time of year is doing the number one thing that would help alleviate much of the problem, rest. Alas, all is not lost. There are many other rehab solutions that can be (almost) as helpful. Obviously, massage and kinesiology taping are what we recommend. But, we don’t like to encourage our runners to come running to us every time they hurt. Typically, a little stretching, a proper cool down and some self-massage to the belly of the muscles I mentioned above, can be helpful. You can also try to limit your training to flat areas. Ascending and descending hills, even the small ones can limit the load. The worst thing you can do is to ignore it. If your goal is to take a ‘right on Hereford and a left on Boylston’, don’t bail on your body. Listen and take the time to prepare it for Marathon Monday. As always, we are here for you if you need us.

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