Running is one of the best forms of cardio and can be a life changer. Running is a proven stress and calorie buster as well as a challenging sport.
However, running can be the worst if an injury is sustained. In any sport there is always a chance of injury and running has multiple injuries associated with it. This article aims at talking about common running injuries and how to minimize them on a long run.
According to the Harvard Gazette, around 30 to 80% of regular runners sustain running injuries in a given year and the count is increasing day by day. Even 30% seems to be a bigger number given running doesn’t involve any gym equipment. Most of the running injuries affect tendons and knee joints as heels because of the repeated stress being put on them. Given below are some of the most frustrating running injuries along with how to prevent or cure them.
This is one of the most common running injury. Runners suffering from this feel pain near the kneecap and it gets worse when coming down an slope or stairs. Runner’s knee is usually caused due to irritation in cartilages under the kneecap area or if there is any strain on the underlying tendons. Sometimes it is linked with weak rotator cuffs of the hips.
How To Relieve Runner’s Knee
The first and the foremost thing is to rest – running miles daily may increase your stamina but can come at the cost of wear and tear of tendons and joints. It is advisable to decrease the running length and apply ice on knees and surrounding areas should be done for 10-15 minutes post running.
How To Prevent Runner’s Knee from Happening
Runner’s knee is associated with hips so strengthening of glutes is necessary. Certain exercises that involve glutes should be done – a good exercise is clams, where you lay on your side and lift your top leg with a bend in the knees.
IT Band Syndrome
Illiotibial band syndrome effects the outside of knee and hips area. Runners suffering from ITB syndrome experience pain on the outside areas of knee and hips.
There is a thick tendon running from hips to the knee. For ITB patients, the tendon becomes tight and causes tension in the fluid sacs (bursae) which are located in around the knee and glutes area, causing them to swell.
How to Relieve ITB
Athletes experiencing ITB should take a week or two off from running or should at least halve distance run. Application of ice on knees and hips may also help. Athletes should engage themselves into cross training activities like cycling and cross trainer machines. They should make sure that they train at a low intensity.
How To Prevent ITB from Happening
It’s advisable to train your glutes weekly. The strengthening of glute muscles takes away chances of many running based injuries. Additionally rolling of hips on a foam roller should be done to break tissue adhesions.
Athletes having pain in and around the shin area are usually affected with shin splits – this pain can be felt even before starting a run. Shin splints happen due to the inflammation of tendons are the shin bone area.
How to Relieve Shin Splits
The best way to cure shin splits is to train the calf and shin muscles equally. Exercises like calf raise, donkey calves and seated calf raises can help along with application of ice. As always, cutting back on runs helps the most.
How To Prevent Shin Splits from Happening
Shin splits is common in new runners – increase the distance progressively. First start running a short distance over a period of days before increasing the mileage. It’s thought that runners having flat feet or those who over-pronate are more prone to shin splits.
Achilles tendinitis causes pain near the back portions of legs and around the heel region. Achilles is the largest tendon in the human body that connects the calf’s muscles to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis causes inflammation of the Achilles tendons. It is often caused by tighten calves muscles.
How to Relieve Achilles Tendinitis
Athletes should refrain from running for few weeks. They can participate in low-impact cross training exercises.
How To Prevent Achilles Tendinitis from Happening
Heels can be strengthened by eccentric heel lowering. Eccentric heel lowering is performed by standing on a step, then rising of the heel with knees straight and slowly lowering the heel back in 6-7 counts.
3 sets of 15 reps should be done per leg twice a day.
Plantar fasciitis affects the lower region of legs including the heels and arches. The pain is usually felt after getting up from the bed. Plantar fasciitis is caused due to the irritation of plantar fascia that is a band of connective tissue that joins the heels and forefoot for giving arch support.
How to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis
Keep a bottle in the freezer. Make sure the water freezes completely. Now take out the bottle from the freezer and roll the foot’s sole over it, over and over. Stretching also helps a lot. Keep the affected foot on the opposite thigh. Start pulling the top portion of the big toe away from the foot. Repeat for 15 reps 3 times daily.
How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis from Happening
High and low arches are prone to plantar fasciitis. High heel shoes should be avoided and it is not advisable to walk or run in flip flops as they provide no arch support. Use proper shoes exclusively made for running.
Hamstring pain is the most devastating as athletes experiencing hamstring strain can’t walk properly. Hamstring pain is experienced on the back of thighs. Hamstring strain is usually caused due to excessive stretch of either one or more muscles in the back portion of the upper leg region.
How to Relieve Hamstring Strain
Rest and application of an ice pack as well as pain relief lotions help in healing.
How to Prevent Hamstring Strain from Happening
Strengthening the core muscles by doing exercises like planks help in strengthening hamstrings. Other exercises like squats and stiff-legged deadlifts also help in strengthening hamstrings.
The symptoms of piriformis Syndrome are tingling, numbness and pain in the back of the leg extending down the leg. Piriformis syndrome is caused due to pressing of piriformis muscle that is located in the hips against sciatic nerve.
How to Relieve Piriformis Syndrome
Stretching helps a lot and so does adequate rest. Stretching should be done by sitting with ankle of the injured leg crossed over the opposite thigh, leaning forward and holding for 15 counts.
How to Prevent Piriformis Syndrome from Happening
It’s advisable to not run on uneven surfaces. Glutes should be activated before a run and stretching should be done before and after the workout.