Running is one of the few sports that many people start without any prior knowledge or training and can leave people beset with injury, whether it’s early on in their running career or at a later stage.
The reality is that many runners constantly deal with a slight (or not so slight) disturbance—a tender foot, a tight hamstring, a whiny knee. These mild, transient aches that bug runners one day and disappear the next, they’re often not-quite-injured but not-quite-healthy end of the spectrum. They’re often not serious enough to require a time-out, but they are annoying, and spoil the time spent on the roads.
Many running injuries are caused by overuse, when you push yourself too hard. Adding distance or speed to your running routine, running up hills, and interval training are just some of the reasons running injuries occur. Equally people can develop injuries when they first start running. Body mechanics -- the way your body is designed play a very important a role in this. Injuries are predominantly ‘soft tissue’ related rather than joint / bone injuries, often with underlying muscle imbalances in various part of the body where the muscles affected are not being used correctly. Having a strong set of muscles is a good thing, along with other important factors such as your running style, how you use your muscles and how efficient your running technique is also has an important role to play.
Commonly the injuries that you hear of are:
- Blisters, due to friction, often seen in new runners
- Runners Knee (Patello femoral pain syndrome) is irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap.
- Achilles Tendinopathy commonly known as Achilles tendinitis, repetitive minor injuries (microtrauma ) to the tendon.
- Muscles Pulls, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, etc.
- Plantar Fasciitis small tears or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments that run from your heel to your toes, common in all levels of runners.
- Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome), an achy pain that results when small tears occur in the muscles around your shin bone. Frequently seen in new runners
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) The iliotibial (IT) band lies along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee. The IT band can rub can rub on the side of the femur. This is often seen in new runners but also in runners increasing their distances for marathons.
- Stress fractures develop as a result of cumulative strain on the bone. Runners most often have stress fractures in their lower leg, feet or heels. They are one of the most serious of all running injuries.
For more information on any of these topics please see What We Treat at our centre.
Tips for Preventing Running Injuries
Regardless of your running experience, the best advice for preventing any injury is to pay careful attention to any warning signs of an injury. Additional tips include:
- At the first sign of an issue, you back off your mileage, reduce the intensity of your runs
- Wear appropriate footwear, seek professional advice on the type of running shoe, making sure your shoes suit the surfaces you’re running on.
- Replace your shoes regularly
- Try and mix the surface, not just hard road
- Warm up properly
- Cross train on a bike or swim etc.
- Stretch after running
- Avoid overtraining
- Seek advice on your running style, preferably when you first take up running, it may help prevent injury.
You can further reduce your risk of ending up with prolonged injuries by seeking advice with a practitioner experienced in sports rehabilitation whether it’s a physiotherapist,or osteopath.
Here at the Centre we have a range of therapists that are runners themselves and are experienced in managing the rehabilitation of people with these types of injury.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, or other types of pain, give us a call 01480 455221 or email us here.
Author: Jane Morris