Painful and tender trigger points, which can feel like knots, may develop in runners from repetitive stress on the muscle fibers. While benign, these trigger points cause discomfort and range of motion issues. Trigger point therapy helps runners manage their pain and learn about the body mechanics behind muscle knots. Trigger point therapy is a minimally invasive way to reduce pain and improve range of motion, which can in turn improve running mechanics and efficiency.
What is Trigger Point Therapy?
Everybody is different, so physical therapists have a variety of techniques to target trigger points, such as soft tissue mobilization, which is similar to massage, and stretching. Your PT may also use manual treatments or instruct you in techniques you can do at home to treat the trigger points, such as stretching. One of the most effective treatments is dry needling, which involves a trained therapist inserting sterile microfilaments to simulate areas between the muscle fibers. Dry needling is gaining traction as a treatment throughout the US, and there is legislation in progress to allow physical therapists in New Jersey to use dry needling.
Benefits of Trigger Point Therapy for Runners
1. Reduced Pain
The main benefit of trigger point therapy is pain reduction. Muscle knots restrict blood flow and block oxygen from your muscles, leading to inflammation and pain. In addition, trigger points can refer pain to other parts of the body, making them difficult to locate. However, the physical therapist can pinpoint your pain and work to release the trigger point.
2. Improved Range of Motion
Trigger points are essentially contracted muscles that won’t release. They limit your range of motion because specific muscles cannot stretch to their full length. This, in turn, affects the surrounding muscles. Physical therapy releases the fibers and improves mobility, which is crucial for runners. With a full range of motion, you can get back to training.
3. Minimally Invasive
Physical therapy offers a natural and holistic approach to pain management. First off, many trigger point release techniques are non-invasive such as soft tissue mobilization, stretching, and heat. Even dry needling is minimally invasive, requiring no medication or surgery. Your PT will work with you to develop a treatment plan you are comfortable with.
Get Started Today
Your PT will tailor a treatment plan that is right for your specific situation. During your first appointment, ask your therapist what you can do between sessions to maximize the benefit of therapy. Finally, you can manage your pain and get back your full range of motion. Contact our physical therapists to get started with trigger point therapy for runners. Schedule a consultation online today.