Article by Alex Clarke
We know that running gives you both pain and joy. Running gets you fit and keeps the weight down, it clears your mind, it works your body. We also know how much an injury can slow you down, both physically and mentally.
Looking back through history, we evolved to be able to run, and to be able to run long distances. The human body is a mechanical masterpiece in many of the ways in which it can store and reuse energy. For instance, your Achilles tendon can store up to 30% of the energy your calf muscle generates, and like an elastic band, ‘snap’ back to help lift your heel off the ground as we run. These changes let our bodies run efficiently for long periods.
Why Do Runners Get Injured So Easily?
Just because we are made to run doesn’t make us great runners. For a number of reasons, many runners develop injuries each year.
At any one time approximately 25% of runners will have an injury. Most of the time it comes down to a change in workload. Given enough time, our bodies are very good at adapting to increased workload.
If we gradually increase the distances that we run, the muscle, tendon, and bone cells can respond to this increased workload and increase their ‘strength’ and endurance. If, however, we increase this workload too quickly, these structures start to break down.
Changes in workload can be due to a change in:
- Distance / time / intensity of training
- Terrain, eg more hills, harder ground
- Running technique
Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running is sometimes hard on the muscles and joints; especially if you ignore early injury signs.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Runners?
Your physio will look at a number of areas to determine what may have led to your injury, including:
- your running biomechanics - using video analysis we can slow down and look at the various components of your running technique
- footwear advice suitable to your foot
- training load - what is good, too much, too little
- joint range, muscle length and overall flexibility
- muscle strength: core control, foot arch control, hip, knee and lower limb control.
Once your physio has identified the factors that have led to your running injury, they will look to work with you to get you back into running as soon as possible. Your running injury may require a short period of rest in order to allow some healing to occur, during which time cross-training may be a good option to maintain your fitness. Your physiotherapist who has a special interest in running injuries is the best person to advise you.
How to Avoid Running Injuries
The best way to avoid running injuries is to prevent them. These tips can help both novice and elite runners prevent running injuries:
- Perform an individually customised Warm Up & Cool Down routine specific to your body's needs.
- Wear footwear suitable for your foot structure
- Plan your training to avoid overtraining
- Increase your training by no more than 10% per week
If you do develop an ache or pain, it is likely to be a running injury. If you are not sure how to best manage your running injury, please consult your physiotherapist for their professional assistance.
Most Common Running Injuries in Detail
Running is one of the easiest and most popular ways to stay fit. It is also one of the easiest ways to develop an injury. Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running is sometimes hard on the muscles and joints; especially if you ignore early injury signs.
Running is one of the easiest and most popular ways to stay fit. It is also one of the easiest ways to develop an injury. Running injuries are common and
often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running is sometimes hard on the muscles and joints; especially
if you ignore early injury signs.
- ITB Syndrome
- Knee Ligament Injuries
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Patella Tendonitis (Tendinopathy)
- Chondromalacia Patella
- Osgood Schlatter’s
- Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Disease
- Meniscus tears
- Bursitis Knee
- Knee Arthritis
- Plica Syndrome
- Anterior Ankle Impingement
- Peroneal Tendonitis
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
- Sprained Ankle
- High Ankle Sprain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Sever’s Disease
- Heel Spur
- Morton's Neuroma
- Stress Fracture Feet
- Hip labral tear
- Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
- Gluteal Tendinopathy
- Hip Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Stress Fracture
- Trochanteric Bursitis
- Poor Hip Core
- Back Muscle Pain
- Bulging Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Facet Joint Pain
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Pinched Nerve
Common Treatments for Running Injuries
Treatment for your running injury may include:
- massage and/or dry needling to help improve muscle length and reduce pain
- a stretching programme for muscle length
- joint mobilisation for stiff joints
- strapping to offload the injury and improve biomechanics
- specific exercises to help strengthen weakened muscles at the foot, knee, hip and trunk, and core
- working with a podiatrist for orthotic prescription if required, and
- working with your running coach to discuss your training regime.
Running Injury Treatment Options
FAQs Running Injuries
Helpful Products for Running Injuries
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Last updated 31-May-2017 02:25 PM
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