Running is one of the best ways to stay fit, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to become injured. There are no worse words for a runner than “stop running and your injury will heal.” Despite the fact that no one wants to give up what they love for weeks or months at a time, it is often the only way to fully recover from a running-related injury. Most often running injuries are caused by overuse, overtraining or a flaw in your body’s muscular structure. Here’s the top 4 running injuries and how you can help treat them.
If you’re experiencing consistent pain in the middle of the arch of your foot or at the heel, then you might have plantar fasciitis. It’s caused by an abnormal strike of the foot while running. Often, this stems from runners with calf muscles that are too tight or those who overpronate when they run. Overpronation is when the feet roll too far inwards after the heel strikes the ground. Plantar Fasciitis can also be caused by wearing rigid or worn-out shoes and overtraining.
The achilles tendon is extremely strong, but is not very flexible, which is why it is easy to injure. The achilles tendon is the spot right above the heel at the bottom portion of your leg. When the achilles tendon becomes inflamed, this is the beginning stages of tendonitis. Since the pain isn’t unbearable to begin with, many runners keep on going, which causes the injury to quickly get worse. Ignoring early warning signs is the biggest cause of this injury.
Illiotibial Band Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome is recognizable by the sharp pain on the outside edge of the knee or even hip pain. The IT band starts at the hip and attaches to the outside of the shin bone, just below the knee. Just like most running injuries, the IT band becomes inflammed from overuse, particularly when runners are training for high mileage races. Stretching is an extremely important way to prevent this injury. Many runners skip warm up and cool down, but giving yourself time to stretch and warm up muscles is critical to keeping the muscles functioning properly.
Did you know that 42% of all running injuries affect the knee? This injury is caused by a wearing away of the cartilege under the knee cap, which results in pain and inflammation. Symptoms include pain on one or all sides of the knee cap,a grinding sound and swelling of the knee. Runner’s knee can be caused by a few different things: overpronation, wearing old running shoes, weak quadicep muscles and, of course, overtraining.
If you’re experiencing severe pain, stop running – no arguing! If you have mild pain, reduce training intensity and avoid downhill running, stair climbing and other activities that put stress on the affected muscles. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation for 5-7 days. Ice the sore muscle for 10 minutes every 2 hours to help keep swelling down. If you don’t see improvements after 2 weeks of treatment, schedule an appointment to see your doctor to make sure you’re doing everything possible to get back on the right track.
While many running injuries are unavoidable with the amount of stress put upon our bodies, there are steps to take to reduce your odds of a crippling injury.
- stretch before and after exercise
- stop running at the first sign of pain and begin treating the muscle
- don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week
- take at least 1 rest day each week
If you just can’t bear the thought of not getting in your daily dose of physical activity, try activities that don’t put as much pressure on your leg muscles such as swimming, cycling and pool running.