Running Injuries

Running Injuries

 

Article by J.Miller, Z.Russell, A.Clarke

Running

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
  • Footwear
  • 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 controlfoot 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.

Knee Pain

Ankle Injuries

Foot & Heel Pain

Groin Pain

Hip Pain

Back Pain

Muscle Pain

Neck Pain

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

Common Causes - Knee Pain

Knee pain can have many origins from local injury, referred pain, biomechanical issues and systemic issues. While knee pain can appear simple to the untrained eye, a thorough assessment is often required to ascertain the origin of your symptoms. The good news is that once a definitive diagnosis is determined, most knee pain quickly resolves with the correct treatment and rehabilitation.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Kneecap Pain

Knee Arthritis

Knee Tendon Injuries

Muscle Injuries

Knee Bursitis

Children’s Knee Conditions

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Knee Surgery

For specific information regarding your knee pain, please seek the assistance of a healthcare professional with a particular interest in knee condition, such as your physiotherapist.

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