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Rehab Tips

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Common Running Injuries:

  • Insertional Achilles Tendonitis
  • Mid Tendon Achilles Tendonitis and calf strains
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Hamstrings
  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Glutes
  • Tibialis Posterior (muscle that lifts arch)

Tip #1: Perform modified heel drops for the treatment and/or prevention of insertional, not mid tendon, Achilles tendonitis. 

This modified heel drop protocol was posted by John Davis on his blog entitled Running Writings:

"In short, the modified protocol is as follows:

  • 3 sets of 15 straight-legged eccentric heel drops on flat ground, twice a day for twelve weeks
  • Starting with the heels raised and your weight on the injured leg, use the calf muscles to slowly lower your heel to the ground, keeping your knee straight.
  • Use your good leg to return to the starting position.
  • Exercise into mild or moderate pain, but stop if pain becomes excruciating
  • Once you can complete all three sets without pain, add weight using a backpack.
  • Once you have recovered, it is not a bad idea to keep doing these exercises for maintenance/prevention."

Tip #2:  Perform eccentric heel drops for the treatment of and/or prevention of mid tendon Achilles Tendonitis; also, perform heel drops for strains and/or the prevention of strains to the soleus and gastrocnemus.

A version of the Alfredson heel drop protocol was posted by John Davis in Running Writings:

"In short, the eccentric heel drop protocol is as follows:

  • 3 sets of 15 eccentric straight-knee heel drops and 3x15 bent-knee heel drops over a step or ledge, starting "up" on one leg, descending slowly, and returning to the "up" position uisng the uninjured leg.
  •  The two exercises are to be performed twice a day, every day for twelve weeks.
  • Continue the exercise even into moderate pain, but stop if the pain becomes debilitating.
  • When you are able to do all three sets without any pain, add weight using a backpack.
  • Once you have recovered, continue to do eccentric heel drops several times a week as a preventative measure."

Tip #3: Perform the Fredericson Protocol with additions for IT Band Syndrome (soreness on the outside of the leg, especially near the knee).

A version of the Fredericson Protocol was posted by John Davis in Running Writings:

"The exercises prescribed by Fredericson et al. are illustrated below.  The stretches, denoted (1) and (2), were performed three times per day15 seconds each on both sides.  The strength exercises, denoted (3) and (4), started at one set of 15 repeats once per day and built by 5 repeats per day, assuming there was no soreness from the previous day, up to three sets of 30 repeats once per day.  The program lasts six weeks.  

Davis also recommended additions to the Fredericson Protocol:

"For lack of anything better, you can start with 1x15 and build to 3x30 with these strength exercises as well.

Adopted from

*Clamshell leg lifts

Very similar to side leg lifts (exercise 3 in the Fredericson protocol), but the knees are bent, meaning your legs "open" like a clam, externally rotating instead of simply abducting.  As with the side leg lifts, go slowly and ensure the hips are straight above each other, not tilted forward or backwards. 

Adopted from

*Pelvic tilt into glute bridge, 5sec hold at top

This exercise is done lying on your back with your knees bent.  "Tilt" your pelvis up by drawing your stomach in, then, keeping your pelvis "up," use your glute muscles to go into what's called a "glute bridge" and hold it for 5sec, then lower back down and "untilt" your pelvis.

adopted from

Tip #6:  Strong glutes will help prevent injuries to muscles on the back of the legs such as the Achilles tendon, the calf and hamstrings.

Mike Dennison addresses the issue of weak glutes on the Formspring page of his Runners' Yoga website:

"Runners typically have problems with the muscles on the back of the legs: the hamstrings on the back of the thigh and the calf/soleus on the back of the lower leg. If it's a hamstring problem then I would suggest that your repeated strains and pulls come from those muscles being overloaded due to dormant gluteus maximus muscles. This is a common problem. The gluteus maximus is the main muscle that brings the leg into extension when we run, the hamstrings are helper muscles in this action. But if the glute max "shuts off" for whatever reason (usually due to injury or excessive tightness is other muscles), then the hamstrings have to take over for the glutes, something they're not meant to do. This puts an excessive load on the glutes and suddenly we're getting pulls and strains, just as you describe (assuming it is the hamstrings you're talking about). It's not hard to get the glute max working properly again."

Tip #7: Sprinters may develop soreness in the ankle or arch early in the season from overpronation or too much speed work too soon.

Woller describes on youtube a simple exercise to strengthen the tibialis posterior, the muscle that lifts your arch.

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