Many people use running as their primary way of exercising. But, even though they would say they take the correct safety precautions, many of them will suffer at least one of the most common running injuries. Let’s take a look at them – and how to avoid them.
Image Credit: David Ohmer/Flickr
Achilles Tendinitis is an inflammation of the achilles. You will know you are suffering from the condition because you will feel pain and have swelling at the back of the heel. It can be incredibly frustrating if running is your only form of exercise, as it can keep you out of action for surprisingly long periods.
If you develop the condition, rest up for a week or so with regular icing to clear any swelling and minor pain. Slowly get it working again – heel lifts are great – and before you head out for a run, make sure you buy some good, supportive running shoes. In the long term, look into strengthening the area by doing lower leg exercises – try single leg squats, calf raises or box jumps, for example.
IT Band Syndrome
‘The knee bone’s connected to your hip bone’ isn’t quite true outside of kids’ basic anatomy songs. The knee and hip are also linked by the tendon known as the iliotibial band – or IT band. When this gets inflamed, it can cause a very sharp stabbing pain in the knee – particularly when you are running down a hill.
If you get IT band syndrome, you need to get any inflammation down by using ice, massage and anti-inflammatory medication. Once you have recovered, make sure you avoid downhill running for a while or jogging in areas that have a slight slope that cause stress to your knee. In the long term, look at strengthening the mid and upper leg muscles.
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common running injuries and, to put it bluntly, is a right pain in the heel. It can be irritating, but it can also be extremely uncomfortable and have you out of action for several weeks at least. In severe cases, you may need urgent care. It occurs when you have overtrained or haven’t been wearing unsupportive shoes – but its overall cause is a weakness in the foot muscles.
To see the condition off, you will need to start using ice around the area to reduce inflammation, and employ stretches of the calf muscles. Going forward you will need to make sure you have stronger foot muscles and take stretching more seriously.
Runner’s Knee presents itself with a constant dull ache below the kneecap. The more you exercise, the worse it can get, so you need to keep yourself aware of what is causing it. Uneven surfaces, incorrect running shoes, weaknesses in your legs or feet and incorrect running posture are common causes.
If you feel that ache behind your patella: stop running, go home, ice up and take some anti-inflammatories if necessary. When you are fully recovered, think about changing your running route, and make sure you are wearing the correct footwear. You will also need to add leg strengthening exercises and stretching to your routine, as well as changing your running posture and gait.