Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

Running

Injuries from running occur due to individuals overexerting themselves and are also caused by the manner in which your body moves during exercise. It is important to take adequate steps to prevent running injuries so you can enjoy your favorite form of exercise as long as possible.

Stress fracture

Most stress fractures occur in a runner’s shins and feet. More specifically, stress fractures are the result of small cracks in your bone that cause pain and discomfort. Runners that overexert themselves while they are trying new techniques are particularly susceptible to stress fractures. If you suffer even a minor stress fracture, rest your bone, so the injury does not worsen.

Runner’s Knee

The most common injury among runners is runner’s knee. This injury is due to a misalignment of the kneecap. Since the cartilage located on your kneecaps starts to deteriorate with time, this is of particular concern with older runners. This injury will be apparent if you are going up and down steps, sitting with your knees for long periods of time, and when you are squatting.

Shin splint

For those who like to change up their running routine frequently, shin splints are a cause for concern. To avoid getting shin splints, never increase the number of days you run too quickly, run distances that are too far, or overexert yourself right after an injury. To combat getting shin splints, perform regular stretching exercises, build up to new intensity levels, and stretch frequently.

Pulled Muscle

Also called a muscle strain, pulled muscles are caused by minor tears in your muscle. Most people that pull their muscles do so because they were overstretching. At the moment that one stresses a muscle, it will be similar to a popping feeling, much like when the muscle tears. Use extra precautions when you are using your calf, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles. The most effective treatments include using ice, thoroughly resting, raising the specific area, and performing compression exercises.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are due to stretching your ligaments located your ankle or partial tearing. Ankle sprains happen when your foot rolls or twists inward. Some of the most common treatments for sprained ankles are raising your foot, resting the affected area, and putting ice on your ankle.

Achilles Tendinitis

Also called Achilles tendon, Achilles tendinitis is when the large tendon that connects the calf to the back of the heel swells. Achilles tendinitis causes severe pain and rigidity throughout the tendon, especially in the morning and with strenuous activities. You are especially susceptible to Achilles tendinitis if you suffer from consistent stress. Achilles tendinitis occurs commonly with runners that add a significant amount of distance to their typical routines, and it will get worse if your calf muscles are rigid. To treat this condition, regularly perform calf stretches, keep the affected area rested, and put ice on it.

Plantar Fasciitis

Also known as plantar fascia, plantar fasciitis is when tissue from the bottom portion of your foot that stretches from the toes to the heels becomes inflamed. You are particularly at risk for plantar fasciitis if you have tight calf muscles or a high foot arch. The most typical causes include increased physical activity but it also occurs without any apparent causes. The most commonly cited treatments include icing the bottom of your feet, resting your foot, and performing regular calf stretches.

IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome

This syndrome causes pain in the upper portion of the knee. IT band syndrome is due to the ligament on the outside of the thigh enlarging and moving against the knee bone, which causes inflammation. To remedy this syndrome, heat and stretch the areas before hand, ice the area immediately after strenuous activities, and decrease the amount that you exercise if your regiment is too difficult.

Blisters

Blisters are fluid-filled sacks that are located on the top of your skin. Blisters are due to contact between your skin and socks/shoes. To remedy blisters, put on socks that are thick for increased protection. In addition, it would be wise to put petroleum jelly on areas that are susceptible to blisters and build up to using new running shoes.

Injuries due to Extreme Temperatures

Many running injuries are a result of added strain. However, a fair amount of injuries are due to temperature related. Do not stay in the cold air or hot sun for extended periods of time. A few of the most frequent temperature related injuries include heat exhaustion, frostbite, hypothermia, and sunburn. Make sure to dress appropriately, put on sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.

How to Reduce your Risk of Running Injuries

To eliminate the danger of suffering any running injuries, it is important to take a few steps in advance. Below are several techniques you should employ:

Pay attention to your physical limits
Cease exercising if you feel any pain. You should expect to experience some mild soreness, however, if you notice a consistent pain in a muscle or joint that does not get better, immediately talk to your doctor.

Build a Workout Plan
Before you begin your workout, talk with your trainer about your exercise plans. Trainers will work with you to create a workout plan, which is aligned to your workout capabilities, safe on your body, and matches up to your long-term exercise goals.

Stretch and Warm-up
Some running injuries happen due to failing to stretch your muscles. Stretch your muscles before and after your run. Some muscles to stretch include the hamstrings, calf, groin, and quadriceps. Make sure you warm up for at least five minutes before you begin stretching as stretching cold muscles might cause injuries.

Cross Train
Mix up your fitness routine. Never run exclusively. Consider rock climbing, swimming, walking, yoga, tennis, or another activity. Cross training will help prevent overuse injuries that frequently occur as a result of performing a similar exercise over and over again.

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