As many of you are getting ready to run the Freedom’s Run, I wanted to review the most common running injuries. These usually happen when you push yourself too hard too quickly or your body is not strong or mobile enough to tolerate the extra training. Many injuries occur when you first start running or after recovering from an injury.
Here are 10 common running injuries that may halt your training for your next race.
- Runner’s knee. This is a common overuse injury. Runner’s knee has several different causes. But it’s commonly due to abnormal running mechanics because of a variety of potential issues, including hip weakness, poor foot placement or knee cap alignment issues. Vigorous activity leads to pain around the knee, particularly when: going up or down stairs, squatting, sitting with the knee bent for a long time.
- Stress fracture. This is a small break in a bone that causes pain and discomfort. It typically affects runners in one shin or in the feet. It is often due to going too hard before your body gets used to a new activity or a metabolic issue, especially in women. Identifying this issue is imperative because it could lead to further damage that could stall your training. It typically gets worse with activity and improves with rest.
- Shin splints. This injury is typically in both lower legs and is painful along the shin bones (tibia). Shin splints most commonly happen with a sudden increase in training intensity or mileage or a change in training surface, like going from a track to road running. Things like proper rest and training changes, stretching , exercise and slow return to activity are excellent treatments that can improve your return to pain free running.
- Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy. Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon just above your heel. It typically hurts more in the morning and with activity and is caused by an increase load repeatedly to the tendon, usually from over training and /or from the tendon being too tight. Stretching, ice and ant-inflammatory medications can be helpful in the early stages. If not treated quickly and training continues, it could turn into a tendinopathy, which is a change in the tendon fiber itself, causing adhesions that then need to be broken up with certain exercises (eccentrics) and soft tissue mobilization. This often occurs after 6 weeks of an unresolved tendonitis.
- Muscle pull. This is a tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain, that most commonly occurs in the hamstrings, quadriceps or calf muscles. It can occur due to a sudden overstretch or forceful contraction of the muscle. Soft tissue massage, rest, light exercise can be helpful as a treatment.
- Ankle sprain. This is injury is most common to the outside of the ankle where there is an over-stretching or tearing of ligaments that prevent your ankle from rolling in. It can happen especially with trail running and running on a change in terrain or surface and the ankle twists or rolls inward. Training the ankle on surfaces like balance boards, Bosu balls, and uneven surfaces can help prevent them and help to improve an existing sprain.
- Plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia located on the bottom of the foot that goes from the heel and spreads to the toes. Having tight calf muscles and improper shoewear can contribute to this pain. Getting the right shoe, working on soft tissue mobilization to the area and stretching and massaging trigger points throughout the calf can be helpful as treatments.
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS).This often irritated band of very dense tissue runs from the hip to the outside of the knee and can occur when it is filled with adhesions that make it tight and creates a rubbing over bone near the knee, causing inflammation and pain. Working of deep and intense soft tissue work to this area as well as a biomechanical analysis by a trained physical therapist to see what might be causing it is important. It is near impossible to stretch this tissue due to its thickness.
- Temperature-related injuries. There are a variety of injuries thst can hamper performance as well as cause serious injury and medical conditions from training and racing in more extreme temperatures. They can be mild like a sunburn or heat exhaustion but could also become more life threatening like heat stroke and hypothermia. These can be prevented by dressing appropriately, staying hydrated with water and possible supplementation with salt or electrolytes, and using sunscreen.
How are you preventing or treating these common running injuries as you get ready for the Freedoms Run or your next race? Are you taking the right precautions and training correctly to avoid them? Tell us about them in the comment section below or call us for an evaluation or free screen to stay strong, mobile and well!