Jeremy Ohara

Jeremy Ohara

From Injury to the Finish Line: How Physical Therapy Helps You Return to Running

  Feb 16, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

So, you love running. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you ever get injured and cannot run anymore? Yeah, you can’t even imagine this happening. Injuries can happen to anyone, even professional athletes are not immune to it.

For such cases, physical therapy can become the secret weapon that may get you back to moving again.

Physiotherapy is like a special training program just made for you that can help you heal and get back better than before.

In this article, we’ll talk about why physical therapy is so important if you are trying to run again after getting hurt. If you ever want to get running again, keep reading and your dreams may just come true.

Understanding Running Injuries

Running is great fun, but sometimes it can lead to injuries. Here are some common ones and what they’re about:

  1. Shin Splints: Pain in the front of your shins, usually from overdoing it.
  2. Runner’s Knee: Hurts your knees, often due to weak leg muscles.
  3. Achilles Tendonitis: Pain in the back of your heel, often from overuse.
  4. Plantar Fasciitis: Pain in your heel or foot’s bottom, usually from exercising on hard surfaces.
  5. Stress Fractures: Tiny bone cracks, often from too much activity on hard ground.
  6. IT Band Syndrome: Pain on the outer side of your knee, sometimes from sprinting over slanted surfaces.
  7. Ankle Sprains: This happens when you roll your ankle or run on uneven surfaces.
  8. Hamstring Strains: Muscle pain in the back of your thighs, can result from pushing too hard.

Recognizing these injuries is vital. If you feel pain or discomfort, see a professional such as a physical therapist to help you heal and get back to running safely.

The Role of Physical Therapy

Think of physiotherapy as a special coach for your body. When you get hurt from running, they’re your guide to feeling better.

Physical therapy after car accident is crucial for recovery. A licensed physical therapist assesses injuries, range of motion, strength, and any areas of pain or discomfort. But how do they go about it?

They start by checking out what’s wrong and making a plan just for you. This plan helps you get rid of the pain, get strong, and be able to run again.

They also show you how to prevent getting hurt in the future. Your physical therapist will support and cheer you on as you work together to make sure you’re healing the right way.

So, physical therapy is a secret weapon to get back to doing what you love—running!

Assessment and Goal Setting

The journey of healing with rehabilitation begins with a thorough assessment, especially for runners. Your physical therapist will ask about your injury, how it affects you, and even watch how you run to understand the problem.

This running assessment is like a detective’s work, uncovering the clues to your injury. After that, you and your therapist set goals, such as targets on a map. These goals help track your progress.

With all this information, your therapist creates a customized plan, a bit akin to a special training program. You’ll have regular check-ins to see how you’re doing, and they’ll adjust your plan as needed.

The running assessment helps them understand your running style and any problems with it, making your recovery journey smoother and getting you back to the joy of being able to run.

Customized Treatment Plans

Physical therapy is comparable to receiving a tailor for your recovery journey. Your therapist starts by understanding your specific needs and goals. They then create a customized treatment plan just for you, which includes exercises and activities designed to help with your unique injury or condition.

As you follow the plan, your therapist pays close attention to your progress and makes adjustments as needed to ensure it’s perfect for your recovery. It’s all about providing the support and guidance to help you reach your goals, no matter if it’s returning to exercising or simply moving without pain.

Just as a tailor ensures your clothes fit perfectly, physical therapy ensures your path to healing is tailored to you.

Rehabilitation Exercises and Their Benefits

Rehabilitation exercises are like special workouts designed to help your body get better. Here are some examples and what they do:

  • Strength Exercises: Squatting to make your legs strong and calf raises for strong calves.
  • Stretching Exercises: These make your body more flexible, like stretching your hamstrings to reduce tension.
  • Balance Exercises: These help you stand steady on one leg, like a flamingo, and improve your balance.
  • Core Exercises: Strengthen your tummy and back muscles with exercises like planks.
  • Range of Motion Exercises: These exercises help you move your arms and legs better.

Doing these exercises helps you get stronger, feel less pain, and avoid getting hurt again. It’s like a special plan to get you back to being active and feeling great. Just remember to keep doing them regularly, and you’ll see good results!

Important Things to Remember

Always perform exercises under the guidance of your physical therapist or physician. Avoid overexertion or pushing yourself too hard, especially if you’re recovering from an injury or surgery.

Proper form ensures that you’re targeting the intended muscles and joints effectively while minimizing the risk of injury. If you’re unsure about the correct form, ask your healthcare provider or a fitness professional for guidance.

Pay attention to how your body responds to each exercise. If you experience pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations, stop the exercise immediately and consult with your healthcare provider to avoid exacerbation.

As you become stronger and more comfortable with exercises, gradually increase the intensity, duration, or resistance. Progression should be gradual and controlled to prevent setbacks or overloading your body.

Focus on achieving a balance between strength and flexibility in your rehabilitation program. Incorporate exercises that improve both muscle strength and joint flexibility to enhance overall function and prevent imbalances. Consistently perform your rehabilitation exercises as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Regular practice promotes muscle memory, strengthens supportive structures, and accelerates recovery.

Always start your exercise session with a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for activity. Similarly, finish with a cool-down to help prevent muscle soreness and promote relaxation.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise sessions to stay hydrated and support optimal performance and recovery. Recovery takes time, and progress may be gradual. Stay patient and persistent with your rehabilitation program, and celebrate each milestone along the way. Remember that consistency and dedication are key to achieving your goals.

Pacing and Progression

Think of your return to running as climbing a mountain. You don’t want to race to the top; you need to take it slow.

After an injury, you might be eager to run, but going too fast can make things worse. Your physical therapist is like your guide, showing you the right speed.

They help you make a plan where you take small steps forward. This way, your body gets stronger and is less likely to get hurt again. It’s like building a strong bridge to your running dreams, one step at a time.

So, instead of rushing, be patient and take it easy. Your steady progress will get you to your running goals safely.

Preventing Future Running Injuries

Just like keeping your favorite toy in good shape, after healing from an injury, you can stay safe when you are jogging. Two important things can help:

  • Strength Training: This is like wearing armor. Exercises like squats and planks make your muscles strong and protect you from injuries.
  • Proper Form: Moving with good form is like playing a game correctly. It helps your body work better and puts less stress on your muscles and joints. Pay attention to your posture, how your feet land, and your steps.

And don’t forget, if something feels wrong, like pain or discomfort, take a break and rest. It’s all about enjoying your runs without getting hurt, just like keeping your toy in good condition.


Getting back to running after a serious injury can be an adventure in itself. You may face many hurdles and setbacks but do not worry because now you have the tools and knowledge to get over them.

You need to keep in mind that physical therapy can be your reliable guide by providing you with a custom roadmap for your path to recovery. You need to take one step at a time and not rush the process. This steady progress can be a key to your recovery.

Just strengthen your body and maintain your form to prevent any future injuries from happening. Just keep your goals in sight and enjoy the thrill of running again.

With strong dedication, unbending will, and perseverance, you can overcome this challenge. Put one foot in front of the other, and you can definitely reach for your dreams once again.