Let’s Move Quad Cities: Common Spring Injuries For Runners, Walkers

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Spring: The weather is warmer and everyone wants to get outside, but if you're a runner or a walker - this is the time of year when you can really hurt yourself.

After months of working out on treadmills inside, Dr. Russell Carlson with ORA Orthopedics says people are "just anxious to get outside" and that's when the injuries happen. They do too much, too soon.

"Too much, too soon injuries are usually fatigue-type injuries like tendinitis, stress fractures, and heel pain," said Dr. Carlson.

For 33-year-old Breanna Fitzpatrick, it was a tear in her tendon.

"It was just too much," she said. "I did too much to my body."

The Davenport 5th Grade Teacher thought it was just a sprain. However, after an MRI at ORA Orthopedics, she found out she had torn her tendon. Dr. Carlson asked her to do six week of physical therapy to strengthen it, but it got worst after she ran a half-marathon.

"I did not listen to the doctor who suggested I not run in the half-marathon so I did it anyway and it hurt the entire time," Breanna said.

The next step was surgery.

"I was more annoyed at myself that I hadn't listened to my body a lot sooner," she said. "Because I put it off for so long, I probably did more damage to myself in the long run, but it's just one of those things... you grow up playing sports, you played through the pain, so I was doing that and unfortunately it was just an injury that wasn't going to get better with that type of mentality."

Dr. Carlson said Breanna had a severe chronic inflammation on the tendons on the outside of her ankle from overuse. However, he was able to fix it by performing an ankle arthroscopy - a procedure where the doctor uses small scopes to clean up the inflammation in the ankle joint. It makes the surgery less invasive, which means less pain.

"I felt my needs were being addressed," said Breanna. "I think my recovery has gone really well."

It's gone so well that four months after her surgery, Breanna is now training for her first triathlon.

"[Dr. Carlson] was a bit shocked when I told him I had signed up for that," she laughed.

However, Breanna is training much differently.

"I definitely do a lot more warming up than I used to when I was younger," she explained. "I do more dynamic stretching, so I prepare my body a lot better for the activity and then stretching and cooling down afterwards. Before, I would just skip those things."

Never again. For this teacher, it's a lesson in not just moving - but moving smarter and better.

"Something in motion tends to stay in motion, so you just have to keep moving - one foot in front of the other and by the end of it, you've run a marathon," she laughed.

Dr. Carlson has some tips to help you avoid these types of injuries this time of year:

- Stretch: Do not skip out on stretching before and after you run or walk.

- Supportive Shoes: The surface of a treadmill is much different from pavement.

- Start Slow: By doing this, you can build up your mileage and intensity as your body adjusts to the new surface.

- If you have persistent pain, seek treatment.

As you get moving the right way, click here before you walk out the door for a list of some of the best running/walking routes in the area.

*Let’s Move QC is a monthly segment on WQAD. It’s all about being the best version of you by introducing viewers to real people in the Quad Cities who are doing just that, with a little extra help from the surgeons at ORA Orthopedics. The stories air every month (usually the last Monday of the month) during News 8 at 5 p.m.

1 Comment

  • never-never-never-give-up.com

    I think one of the most important things to remember, like you stated, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ in assessment, however we can of course use this data to address the MOST LIKELY causes of injury first. As a means of narrowing down potential root causes, this kind of data is very practical, we can potentially spend less time working out what the issue is. Would’t it be great if we just had monthly gait analysis for every runner to see what is developing and (in the case of injuries) what went wrong?

    Thanks for another awesome set of articles to evaluate!

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