Running season is in full swing and that means it is prime time for a variety of lower body injuries. Running injuries can happen to the novice athlete as well as a seasoned runner. If you are a runner or thinking about becoming a runner, it is important to know how best to avoid injury.
Some of the top running injuries include:
- Shin splints are a painful type of injury that often result from overuse. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splints are often marked by a feeling of pain on the inside portion of the tibia.
- Plantar fasciitis is a sharp, tight sensation on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can result from overuse as well as not wearing supportive footwear.
- Runner’s knee, Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is another common running injury. It is characterized by pain felt under the kneecap caused by an inflammation in the tissues where the patella meets the femur.
- Illiotibial band syndrome can be confusing for some runners as the symptoms can seem like a knee injury. The illiotibial band runs from the pelvis down to the knee. Pain from this syndrome can range from the hip, down the leg and around the knee area.
- Stress fractures resulting from running are very common and painful. Frequently characterized as an overuse injury, stress fractures develop due to the repetitive, high impact nature of running.
- Ankle sprains can easily happen for a runner no matter how experienced you are. Sprains result from a twisting or rolling of the ankle joint that stresses the ligaments of that joint. Symptoms include swelling and inability to bear weight on the foot.
Running injuries range dramatically in severity and duration. Some injuries can take months to recover from while others can be treated effectively over a few weeks. Preventing running injuries is definitely easier than treating them so make sure you take proper precautions no matter how experienced you are as a runner.
Preventing running injuries can be fairly simple. Being prepared with supportive footwear is one of the most important things you can do. Make sure you are fitted for the correct size and with a shoe that offers good support.
Another key for preventing running injuries is fueling your body. In addition to hydrating before, during and after a run, you should also take in a balance of protein, carbs and leafy greens. Keeping your body strong and hydrated during a run prevents fatigue that can lead to poor form.
Be sure to stretch before and after your run to prevent sore muscles. Further, space out your runs rather than running multiple days in a row. The high impact nature of this sport makes it likely to develop overuse injuries quickly.
Running injuries are very common. If you do suffer from an injury, you can try treating it at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). However, if your injury makes it painful to walk or if it has not gotten better after a few days, it is best to seek evaluation from an orthopaedic surgeon.