There are a couple of common injuries that we consistently see early into the running season. At Optimize Physiotherapy we know your mind is prepared to get out there and start running, but we want to ensure that your body is also ready.

Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome is a dysfunction of the knee that is caused by the patella (knee cap) tracking off its axis. This leads pain and inflammation around the knee, often felt deep to the patella. These symptoms are caused by a muscle imbalance of tightness in some areas and specific weakness in other muscles of both the hip and the knee.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain felt behind the patella
  • Swelling around the knee
  • Pain with squatting, stairs, running and jumping
  • Pain in the knee after sitting for prolonged periods

What can you do?

The quickest remedy is often relieving tightness in the tissues of your lateral quad, IT band, front of your hip (tensor fasciae latae, psoas, rectus femoris) and your buttocks (glutes). Using a foam roller to roll out each of these different tissues for 3-4 minutes per area can provide effective and rapid relief. The long term fix is to ensure that you are running with proper alignment and establishing a balance in the strength of these muscles. This can be improved by strengthening the side of your buttocks (gluteus medius). Try 25-40 reps of lateral walking with resistance band around your knees as well as clamshells or side planks daily to improve your strength!

Plantar Fasciitis is a repetitive stress injury of the plantar fascia which is a ligamentous tissue that runs from the bottom of your heel through the arch of your foot to the base of your toes.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain on the bottom of the foot from the heel down the arch
  • Painful first few steps in the morning
  • Bottom of foot is tender to the touch

What can you do?

When suffering from this condition, the main things to focus on are reducing the swelling and inflammation in the plantar fascia (bottom of your foot) and improving the flexibility of the fascia, as well as throughout the calf. We recommend icing for 15-20 min before you go to bed to help manage the swelling. A lacrosse ball or a tennis ball can be used to roll out the bottom of your foot and the inside part of your calf. Get after each of these areas for 5 minutes per day. This will not be comfortable at first, but it will feel much better afterward, and your feet will thank you!


Optimize Hint: using a lacrosse ball to mobilize your calf and bottom of your foot is also a great way to help reduce Achilles tendon pain!

These recommendations are based off of common signs and symptoms but may not be the same for everyone. Remember that if you have sharp pain, numbness/tingling or any other more severe symptoms please see a Physiotherapist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about these conditions, or would like to learn more about what to do to prepare yourself for the running season be sure to contact us!