Running is an exciting and intense way to work out. It puts strain on your muscles as well as your bones and joints. But there are simple steps that you can take to run safely and prevent injury.
Here are a few of the most common running related injuries, and how to avoid them.
Runner’s Knee is a general term for experiencing pain around your kneecap or the front of your knee. This pain can be mild but is made worse by prolonged periods of sitting or exercising. It’s a very common injury that can often be treated by a physical therapist. To avoid runner’s knee, make sure you stretch your knees properly before every run. Strengthening your leg and core muscles also takes stress off your knees during a long run.
Typically brought on by running on hard surfaces, shin splints are characterised by pain that runs along your shin bone. The pain from shin splints may go away when you stop running, but it’s important to give them time to recover to avoid forming stress fractures. Wearing proper running shoes goes a long way toward preventing shin splints. The injury is common in athletes who add too much to their running routine at once, so it is also important to pace yourself in order to run safely.
Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, often caused by drastically increasing the intensity of your runs. It can cause serious pain and limits your range of motion. It can be treated, and in fact could cause a tear in the Achilles tendon if left untreated. Like shin splints, preventing Achilles tendinitis is all about wearing the right shoes and slowly working up to more intense runs.
One of the most suffered foot injuries, plantar fasciitis is irritation of the layer of tissue at the bottom of your foot. This burning pain sets in gradually and tends to be worse after periods of exercise. It can be brought on by muscle tightness in the legs, so be sure to stretch before running. Regular rest days are also crucial for avoiding plantar fasciitis, as they give your feet time to recover between runs.
IT Band Syndrome
IT band syndrome is brought on by friction in your iliotibial band, a tissue in your upper leg which helps you to stabilise your knees. This band runs against the leg bones during your run, leading to sharp pains on the outside of your leg. Taking shorter strides reduces the stress on your IT band. Stronger gluten and leg muscles also reduce your risk of suffering from IT band syndrome.
While there are a variety of injuries that you could develop while running, preventing all of these injuries can be broken down into a few simple guidelines:
- Don’t increase the duration or intensity of your routine too much at once.
- Get in the habit of stretching before you start your run.
- Make sure to wear running shoes that are comfortable and in good shape.
- Finally, build stronger muscles to support your body during your run.