And Tips on How You Can Avoid Them
If you’re a regular runner, you’re probably already experiencing most of the health benefits that result from the sport. Running strengthens your heart as well as your muscles, joints and ligaments. It can help you sleep better, lower your risk of arthritis, improve your mental health and more. But, just like pretty much everything in life, there’s at least one downside. In this case, it’s the risk of injury. It’s estimated that at least half of the people who run regularly get injured every year.
To help you avoid becoming an injury statistic, we’re sharing six of the most common running overuse injuries along with steps to take to help avoid them.
Six Common Running Injuries
- Runner's knee. You’re experience dull pain around the front of your knee, either while active or after sitting for a long time.
- IT band syndrome. This injury causes an aching or burning pain on the outside of your knee, which can extend up to your hip. You typically feel this pain when you’re active, not at rest.
- Shin splints. You will feel pain at the front or inner-facing portion of your lower legs. The pain will get worse with activity.
- Plantar fasciitis. This injury causes pain near or on the bottom of your heel. You will usually feel it not long after activity or the following day.
- Achilles tendinitis. Pain will occur in your lower leg just above the heel. You also might feel like your motion is restricted when you try to lift your toes.
- Stress fracture. You’ll experience pain or aching during activity that will worsen over time. The pain typically occurs in the shin or foot.
How to Prevent Running Injuries
These tips apply to all running injuries, not just one.
- Stretch. Stretching helps keep your muscles flexible and reduces the amount of direct force they sustain during your run.
- Go slowly. As a general rule, increase your mileage by no more than 10% a week. Doing more can overtax your muscles and joints, leading to inflammation and injury.
- Don’t increase speed and distance at the same time. Attempting to run both farther and faster at the same time is a recipe for disaster.
- Focus on recovery. Your muscles need time to rest after a run. You also need to stay hydrated, eat healthy and get plenty of rest to recover properly and avoid injuries. Recovery from intense runs might also include: ice and heat; over-the-counter pain medication; massage therapy; and a foam roller or massage gun.
- Learn to distinguish between soreness and pain. When you are trying to improve your speed or distance, you will experience some soreness. However, never ignore sharp or lingering pain—warning signs of injuries.
- Cross-train. Weight training, yoga, swimming or other forms of cross-training can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries and can even improve your running because the muscles you use to run get a rest.
- Choose your shoes wisely. Wearing improper running shoes can impact the normal movement of your feet and increase your risk of injury. Running shoes are designed to encourage your natural movement and biomechanics. You should also make sure to replace your running shoes when they wear out.
If you do experience an orthopaedic injury, we specialize in sports medicine and running-related injuries and conditions. To schedule your appointment, call us at 844.777.0910 or contact us through our website.