Top 6 Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Walking, jogging and running are excellent activities to promote health and wellness. Are you an avid jogger or runner? If so, could the way you run be hurting you?
When you run, jog or walk, each step sends shock waves up the feet, knees, hips and lower back. Overuse injuries are common, especially with running. The good news is, we can help avoid overuse injuries. Some causes of running-induced injuries include:
- Training errors
- Improper running shoes
- Poor weight-bearing or running dynamics
If an injury does occur, physical therapy can get you back on track (pun intended) in a short time. Here are SOME of the most common injuries that occur with running:
- Plantar fasciitis: Inflammation of fibrous connective tissue in the sole of the foot, leading to pain on the bottom of the heel.
- Achilles tendinitis: Heel pain, or pain in the Achilles, due to too much running or running uphill. This can lead to pain and tightness in the calf.
- Shin splints: Often a result of an imbalance in the calf and shin muscles. Pain is along the front side of the lower leg (the shin).
- Stress fracture: The repeated pounding of the legs can lead to stress fractures, with local pain over the affected bone.
- Hamstring strain: Too much running can lead to a hamstring pull.
- Patello-femoral pain or “Runner’s knee”: Increasing running distance too soon can lead to pain behind the patella, or kneecap.
If you have any of these injuries mentioned above, here are some tips from us to help you treat it. Treatment consists of:
- Rest, anti-inflammatory medication and icing the injured area.
- Stretching muscles that are tight (i.e. - calf for Achilles tendinitis; hamstrings for hamstring strain)
- Strengthening exercises to restore muscle balance.
- In some cases, taping works like a charm - talk to your therapist.
- Orthotics may help alter the forces going into your joints. Talk to one of our therapists to see if this is best for you.
Remember, if it hurts, don’t do it. For example, if running hurts, try jogging. If jogging hurts, walk instead.
Are your shoes to blame?
Before starting a running program, ask yourself:
- Are your shoes worn out?
- Are they the right fit for your feet?
- Do you have flat feet? Are your shoes stable enough?
- If your feet are rigid, you need a pair with good cushioning.
All these questions need to be answered. To tell if a shoe can still be used, look at its sole. If it is worn out, it’s time for a new pair! If they twist too easily, it’s another sign they may be worn. Not sure what to look for? Let us guide you.
Runners are very susceptible to injuries, especially with changes in training, including speed, frequency, distance, and surface.
Talk to your therapist about a customized plan to evaluate your foot and minimize or treat injuries.
Your feet will thank you
Most runners fail to take the necessary steps to avoid injury. This is where we come in. After the initial evaluation, we teach you how to:
- Get the right pair of shoes - we evaluate the muscles of your feet and guide you to get the right shoes.
- Stretch out properly - we evaluate your requirements and make sure you stretch out your muscles properly before exercise.
- Strategically structure your running - we teach you the right warm, stretch and exercise sequence and coach you through the process of building up your running time gradually. Remember, your running shoes will last about 500 miles before they need to be replaced.
If you are a runner or just happen to walk regularly, you need to call us to evaluate your technique right away. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
Our highly experienced staff will work closely to design a plan to protect your joints and optimize your efforts. Call us today for an appointment. Your feet will thank you.