As you know, I LOVE running! It is by far my favorite form of exercise and there is nothing so exhilarating to me as a good run or competing in a race. It’s seriously the best. Unfortunately, I am also familiar with running injuries. While you can (and likely will at some point) get injured in any sport you take part in, running comes with its unique set of injuries. Many are very preventable and just take a little knowledge to know what to watch out for. Check out this great article by a talented friend of mine, Alek!
The Most Common Running Injuries
By Alek S.
Running in an exhilarating activity that makes you feel on top of the world. However, it can also be a dangerous pastime if you are not taking the proper precautions to protect yourself, while running. It is as important to have safe running habits as it is to run at all. There are dozens of injuries that can occur, due to running. Not only will these prevent you from enjoying a good run, for a while, but they can also lead to long term muscle and bone issues. Here are some of the most common injuries that occur from running…
If you pull your achilles tendon, prepare to be in a world of hurt. Achilles tendinitis is what happens when your achilles tendon starts to swell. This is a painful condition that makes it hard to put pressure on your lower leg. This common running injury can happen in plethora of ways, from suddenly changing the speed of your running pattern, to bad shoes, to stepping down flat on your foot, instead of arching into your step. In order to avoid achilles tendinitis, make sure that you are wearing proper footwear and stretching your muscles before each running session.
If you don’t run, you surely know how painful it is to bang your shin against a hard edge. This can lead to a leg-pain that lasts for days, and will often leave a nasty bruise. Runners, however, know that this is nothing to the pain that shin splints cause, as shin splints happen beneath the skin, but in front of the shinbone. When the muscles in this area start to swell, it causes a stabbing pain that makes even walking feel like a major chore. These typically happen when a runner comes down on solid ground a little too hard, or when they are running up an elevated surface. Having shoes with good support can go a long way to preventing shin splints, but there is a lot more that you can do to stop yourself from getting them, as well as helping absorb the pain when they do happen. Check out this helpful article if you’d like more information about shin splints.
Your plantar fascia is one of the most important body parts required to run: it’s the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is what occurs when you cause damage to this tissue, whether due to swelling or a more serious tear. Plantar fasciitis is incredibly painful, as it creates a piercing pain in the middle of your foot that is amplified whenever you put pressure on it, although still there even when you aren’t. To protect against plantar fasciitis, wear shoes with ample support, and remember not to come down straight on the arch of your foot.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee, as it is most commonly called, is a running injury that occurs when excessive and continuous pressure is placed on the knees. Over-straightening your knee when you come down on the ground can cause runner’s knee, which is why it is extremely common when you are running down an elevated surface. This is why it is common for many runners to tape their knee, as runner’s knee is one of the most common running injuries that physicians see.
Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome
The iliotibial band is a large tendon that spans across your thigh. Iliotibial band syndrome is what happens when that tendon experiences irritation, or even tears. This can cause a severe pain on the sides of your legs. This is usually caused by muscle tightness, and can be avoided by properly stretching before each running session.
Do research about proper medical treatment
If you happen to get a serious running injury, it is important to seek proper medical treatment. However, there are risks that can be associated with seeking treatment, as well. Do as much research as you can about the options for helping with a running injury, so that you can have an educated conversation with your physician about the necessary steps to take to get better. Also, be wary of painkillers during this process. Many an athlete has developed a dependence on these innocuous-seeming prescription opioids, which fuels into even greater problems (outlined in this article series).
That’s all for now, folks! Happy running 🙂