Overcoming Common Running Injuries

Running regularly can have some fantastic benefits for your health. It can improve your fitness, tone your muscles, and help you lose some pounds.  Moreover, it can have benefits for your brain, improving memory, learning functions, and encourage your brain to release serotonin which makes you happier.  Some results have actually shown that running regularly can improve your hearing, protect you from certain cancers and even increase your fertility!

However, regular runners and newbies must also be careful of pushing themselves too much on their jogs. Injuries can easily happen when people overdo it or suddenly increase training levels.

Some of the most common injuries include:

Runner’s knee:

Runner’s Knee is tender pain behind the kneecap caused by repetitive force of running on the pavement, downhill running, and underlying causes such as muscle imbalance.

Suggested treatment includes knee taping and braces, anti-inflamatory gels and cutting down on mileage.

Achilles tendinitis:

Swollen achilles. Usually caused by increase in intensity of runs, the use of poor footwear, and tight calf muscles.

Suggested treatment includes proper stretching of the calf muscles, avoiding hills, anti-inflammatories, and having the correct footwear.

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Pulled muscles:

Overstretched muscles can cause tears to fibres and tendons. This can be caused by overuse, inflexibility and insufficient warm up’s.

To prevent this make sure you are doing a warm up with dynamic stretches and a cool down after your jog. If you have suffered a pulled muscle try gentle stretches after a hot shower and applying ice.

Plantar Fascia:

 This injury is caused by excessive running on pavements in inappropriate footwear, which creates inflammation, tears and irritation in the tissue on the bottom of the foot.

Again, prevention can be helped by getting the appropriate footwear. Also stretching and getting enough rest is important.

 Shin Splints:

One of the most common and frustrating running injuries is Shin Splints. The stabbing sensation in the shin’s occur when the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed.  If you ignore Shin Splints and try and run through the pain, you could make the underlying injury to bone or surrounding tissue even worse.

Shin Splints are common in inexperienced runners and for those who overtrain. Running on hard surfaces, poor footwear, being overweight, weak ankles, tight calf muscles and tight achilles tendons can all be likely causes.

If you are suffering from Shin Splints you can still exercise, but give running a rest and focus on exercises such as swimming that don’t impact your shins. Give your self a good few weeks to recover and make sure to build up your running routine very gradually to avoid the Shin Splints returning. Also make sure that you warm up correctly and do dynamic stretching

 

Picking up injuries when you are a running enthusiast can be extremely frustrating.  Award winning fitness blogger Lucy Lunges has some great advice on her blog about how she copes with injury:

  • Focus on exercise you can do

Find activities that you can do, such as swimming, that you can do whilst injured, that can keep you active and healthy.

“Swimming keeps me active and gives me the endorphin rush I get from training, without putting stress on the injured area. I’ve also been back to a few yoga and pilates classes for a low-impact workout.”

  • Plan Ahead

Make sure you have a plan on how to cope with the injury and your rehabilitation, especially if you are planning in taking part in races.

“I’m keeping a positive mindset and planning my race calendar for next year with the intention to come back stronger than ever.”

  • Do your physio exercises

The exercises and stretches given to you by a physio may seem slightly boring but they are essential for proper rehab.

“I’ve stuck to my programme of strengthening exercises which my physio gave me and I’m definitely feeling the benefits. It takes around 15 minutes to complete the exercises, so there is no excuse to avoid them.”

  • Get Productive

Make use of your extra free time to keep your mind active:

“I’m embracing down-time and using the extra hours constructively. I’ve been catching up on some freelance design projects and I’m starting a social media course next week. I’m also blogging more frequently! It feels good to blitz my to-do list while I’m having a little time-out from training.”

  • Nutrition

Make sure you are eating healthy and getting all the right nutrients to help your body recover.

“…a balanced diet with the nutrients I need to heal my injury, particularly Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Zinc and Protein. I’ve even lost a little weight since I became injured, perhaps because I’m not as hungry without regular training!”

For more advice from Lucy about sport injuries: CLICK HERE

To read more about running injuries and prevention:

Running Physio

10 Laws of Injury Prevention

Running Injuries and Prevention

Training Capacity

 

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