4 common injuries runners should watch out for
Running provides plenty of health benefits, but it also comes with some level of risk like any physical activity. A study entitled "Major Risk of Injury for Recreational Runners" revealed that a third of active runners suffered some form of injury during a typical calendar year. Despite being experienced runners, they still endured injuries to their knees, calves and Achilles tendons.
The research also found that those with weaker outer thighs or later pronation in their running gait are at a higher risk of injury. In light of the findings, it's important to note that these injuries can happen to anyone. So in order to protect yourself from any potential dangers, here are the most common injuries to look out for, sometimes even before they actually happen. Runner’s knee
NCBI’s look at runner’s knee, also referred to medically as patellofemoral pain syndrome, highlights that this particular injury occurs due to overuse. The pain can be mild at first but, as the area is subjected to more strain, you'll feel a dull ache around your knees.
If you start to experience this, you'll need to let your body recover by stopping any physical activity until the pain stops. You can also relieve the aching with pain-relieving gels or creams. The recovery time can vary from person-to-person, although some can recover from runner’s knee in a few weeks, while others may feel the pain for several years. If the pain lingers, it's best to consult a health-care professional so they can administer more effective treatment methods. Tendonitis Tendonitis is a condition that affects the Achilles tendon, a network of tissues that connects your muscles to the back of your heel. This is caused by tight calf muscles, ill-fitting shoes or poor technique that can put unnecessary stress on the tendon.
The stress causes inflammation, which results in pain and stiffness. Wellness resource SymptomFind provides information on health conditions like tendonitis. In one guide, they write that athletes can relieve the symptoms of tendonitis by following the RICE protocol, which prescribes rest, ice, compression and elevation. You can also talk to a doctor who can prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to soothe the swelling. Plantar fasciitis Orthopedic surgeon Jay Womack states that a tight Achilles tendon is one of the primary causes of plantar fasciitis. This is due to intense and frequent physical activities, which can then lead to the irritation or degeneration of the tissue layer at the bottom of your feet. I dealt with plantar earlier this year and needed a combination of rest, pain cream and exercises prescribed by my physical therapist to heal the injury.
To relieve these symptoms, apply ice over the area around two to three times per day. You can also stretch and massage your calves and feet. Things like arch supports, heel cups, or orthotics can also reduce the strain caused by plantar fasciitis. However, before making use of such tools, make sure to consult with a health-care professional like a PT to pinpoint the best method of treatment. IT Band syndrome The iliotibial (IT) band is a connective tissue that helps stabilize your knees when you’re walking or running. Frequent runners are at greater risk of getting IT band syndrome because the activity creates friction against their IT band and their leg bone.
This may manifest as a sharp pain or even tenderness on either side of your legs. Just like tendonitis, you can relieve the pain through the RICE method or anti-inflammatory medication. You can also massage or stretch the area to alleviate the pain. But if the discomfort persists for more than two months, you should consult a health-care professional about other treatment options.
Conclusion These are some of the most common running injuries you should watch out for. And should you experience any of the relevant symptoms, you'll at least know how to treat them. Always remember that prevention is better than the cure. Make sure you are adhering to proper running practices. Check out our resources on RunSpirited like this story about preventing and treating inflammation. Our stories about runners, races and gear reviews can guide you in improving your practice.