Runner's Heel

P. N. Sperryn
1971 British Journal of Sports Medicine  
In modern track and field athletics rising standards of competition and training have imposed increasing strains on the limbs of athletes. Following Corrigan' s (1968) classification into trauma and overuse injuries we find that in runners overuse injuries are becoming the biggest single barrier to the pursuit of a successful career. In a series of 150 consecutive sports injuries seen at King 's College Hospital, 32% of all sports injuries were classified as overuse injuries but in track and
more » ... ld athletes these injuries accounted for no less than 64.33% of new attendances (Sperryn, unpublished data). There is a difference in the running action of sprinters and long distance runners. Sprinters have a more active quadriceps-hamstrings action and tend to run on the ball of the foot, whereas in long distance runners the limb carriage is lower and there is more grounding of the heel. Comparison of the incidence of injuries in sprinting and long distance running, with the division being made at 800 metres racing distance, shows a quite different range of predominating injuries. The long distance runner is frequently disabled by Achilles tendon pain and by plantar fasciitis. In a series of 72 runners seen in the past two years with 99 separate injuries, I found that none of the 23 sprinters suffered either plantar fasciitis or Achilles pain, whereas 7 and 13 out of 49 respectively of the longer distance runners were thus afflicted. Plantar fasciitis is rarely a difficult problem to deal with and a combination of padding, change of training surface and hydrocortisone injection is usually rapidly effective. In this series there were 13 distance runners, all male, with Achilles pain presenting for treatment. The average age was 26 years (range 17-34) and there were 7 international athletes. Their weekly mileage run was as shown: -Mileage run per week under 25 25 -50 50 -100 over 100 MILES 1 3 8 1 No. of runners.
doi:10.1136/bjsm.5.4.236 fatcat:ti2v2u6ebbbv7kdl5sjwhzisdu