Joy L Meyer, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

On Sabbatical

Runners' Pains

As a runner I know you never want to have to take time off. I also know that you are fairly independent-minded and want to treat yourself. This makes for an athlete who educates him or herself and is disciplined enough to follow through with a believable regimen, even if it hurts. Unfortunately, no pain no gain is often not the best approach.

There are so many "experts" out there, or people who swear by something that worked for them and assume you would benefit too. One problem is they don't know you or your body. In addition, you are not able to evaluate yourself fully; your gait pattern, biomechanics, etc. Finally, the area of pain is often just the tip of the iceberg; the extra load to that region is due to a weakness elsewhere.

Instead of cutting back, taking Ibuprofen or even worse getting a shot of cortisone, only to resume with the same bad mechanics and now more compromised because of your time off, find out what is really going on with your body. Instead of seeing a surgeon or doing generic exercises for your problem, get an individualized program that is right for you. It must take into account your complete history of injuries, your age, gender, muscle strength, neuromotor patterns, your unique anatomy, flexibility, joint health, coordination. We are each so unique that what I would consider abnormal for one person, may be functioning maximally for another. The human body is truly an amazing machine, and no two are alike, so why apply a one size fits all approach. Of course, once a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is put into affect at the appropriate pace, reassessment is paramount. If something can't be completely fixed, the best way to compensate can be determined and realistic goals set.

For example, I am now a fifty something year old woman. Congenital abnormalities (femoral anteversion, tibial torsion, forefoot varus, and L5/S1 spondylolisthesis) though subtle led to horrific patellar pain when I was competing and training 70 miles per week. I am also prone to plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, ITBand pain, and now have DJD of my knees. Working out properly and doing prolotherapy (natural hypertonic dextrose injections) has provided me and most of my patients the improvement they needed to keep active without breaks in their training.

Prolotherapy is the injecting of a natural hypertonic solution, i.e. dextrose into a specific site in order to illicit an inflammatory response. The body reacts by laying down fresh tissue to the area. One can treat ligaments that are overstretched and weakened, and damaged tendons where they attach to the bone. A damaged joint (i.e. degeneration of the meniscus or bone spurring) can become pain free. Wherever your pain; shoulder to the hand, hip to the foot, neck to the low back, prolotherapy in conjunction with other training has provided me and most all my patients with the improvement they needed to keep active without big breaks in their training.

Nobody likes getting injured. But, at least for me I always have known that I will learn from my injury and together with my running career and musculoskeletal training and practice for over 20 years, I am able to help others.

I provide treatment for acute Plantar Fascitis, Achilles Tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome, Shin Splints and other injuries common in runners. These can include a variety of problems affecting the hips and knees.