For novice runners the pitfalls lie in the fact that they are doing an exercise that their body is not used to. Body mechanics -- the way your body is designed, plays a very important a role in injury development. Most 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, however there are other important factors such as your running style, how you use your muscles and how efficient your running technique is that also plays an equally important role. As running is a repetitive action, often requiring endurance, it is important that the body mechanics work in harmony ensuring that the impact of the ground is transmitted and dispersed through the body as smoothly and effortlessly as possible, thereby reducing the runners risk of injury.
There are several common injuries that new runners suffer with these are:
- Runners Knee (Patello femoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is an irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Typically flaring up during or after runs, after extended periods of sitting, or while descending hills and stairs. Risk factors include anyone with biomechanical factors that put extra load on the knee is vulnerable to PFPS, overpronation (excessive inward foot rolling) and weak quads, hips, or glutes. Self help tips include getting your shoes checked out, and shorten your stride to reduce the load.
- 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. These runners may overpronate, or suffer from weak hip abductor and gluteal muscles. Self-care includes self massage with oil, though foam rollering which is popular can create further irritation.
- Plantar Fasciitis- small tears or inflammation in the strong band of tissue that run from your heel to your toes. The pain, which typically feels like a dull ache or bruise along your arch or on the bottom of your heel, is usually worse first thing in the morning. Often caused by poor arches, too high or too low, poorly supported shoes / trainers, tight calf muscles, short hip flexors or weak core muscles. Self help includes calf stretching, advice on running shoes insert a heel cup for extra cushioning.
- Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome), an achy pain and tenderness that results when small tears occur in the muscles around your shin bone. Frequently seen in new runners. Self help tips can be rest, ice, and ibuprofen to ease the pain, and stop running for a few days, bike, swim instead. Taping the shin can help.
All of these conditions can be helped by a practitioner experienced in sports rehabilitation such as a Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Podiatrist, Alexander Technique teacher, etc. and develop a proactive long-term injury-prevention strategy, such as strength training, stretching and working on an efficient running style.
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 on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can advise the best course of action to take.