Our Top 4 Common Running Injuries
With the HBF run this month participants are currently in the thick of their weekly training. While in an ideal world we would love nothing more then to wake up pain-free, no aches or pains or lingering soreness from yesterday’s workout, but the reality is that many runners constantly deal with niggling injuries – a sore knee, tight hamstrings or tender foot just to name a few. While none of these issues are of any serious concern, if ignored they may reduce performance overtime.
1. Runners Knee
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or “runners knee” is an irritation of the cartilage on the base of the patella (kneecap). This usually flares up throughout or after log runs. Athletes with and over pronation (inward foot rolling) and weak quads, hips and glutes may also be at risk.
While some athletes may be able to run through the pain we recommend taking extra rest days and reducing your overall distance. Strengthening weak muscle groups such as the glutes & quads can also assist in avoiding the knees from turning inward. Exercises to strengthen your hips and glutes such as single leg bridges or squats can be very beneficial in strengthening your quads.
2. Achilles Tendinopathy
The Achilles tendon connects with two main calf muscles at the back of the heel, when this comes under too much stress the tendon tightens and becomes irritated which causes the tendinopathy. This is not an injury to run through, if you feel a slight strain in the Achilles or experience sever pain and swelling above your heel even when you are not running we recommend taking a few days off training, and applying ice throughout the day. A sever case of tendinopathy can have athletes out of action for up to 6 months.
Strengthening the calf muscles will prevent your Achilles from flare-ups. Eccentric heel drops which entails standing on a step with the balls of your feet and lowering down on your injured foot by dropping your heel below the step (repeat this for a total of 20 reps). Other factors, which can irritate the Achilles is wearing high heels or thongs, which provide little support.
3. Plantar Fasciitis
With each step our feet absorb a force several times our own body weight. Plantar Fasciitis consist of small tears or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments that run from your heel to your toes. This may feel like a dull pain or bruising along the arch or bottom of your heel and may be more prominent when you climb out of bed, get up after sitting for a long period of time or during the first few minutes of a run.
Runners with high or low arches are more likely to be at risk due to both foot types causing the plantar fascia to stretch away from the heel bone. Other causes include pronation (foot rolls inward) or supination (foot rolls outward). Extended periods standing on hard flooring without the correct footwear can also aggravate the issue.
Having a weak core or previous lower back pain can also contribute as this can lead to subtle variations in the way you walk. A stable core will lessen the stress on the spine and can stop pain transferring to the foot. Also making sure your running shoes are compatible with your foot type by getting your shoes fitted at stores such as Athletes Foot where you can have a screen of your foot carried out to see where your load is transferring, if your feet roll inwards or outwards and wearing the correct shoes for your feet can make a whole lot of difference. Stretching your plantar fascia a few times a day as well as hanging your feet over the edge of your bed and rolling your ankles before you climb out of bed are simple but effective methods of relieving your pain.
4. Shin Splints
Shin splints are referred to as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome and consist of small tears around your tibia (shin bone). Shin splints are more common in people with high arches or flat feet which is why it is very important to be wearing a running shoe that is suitable to your foot type. You can also suffer from shin splints if you are a new runner or runners returning after a long time off.
Treatment of shin splints can include rest, ice, stretching and even dry needing which can be very painful at the time but highly effective. We recommend the best way to avoid shin splints is to increase your running distance progressively, and make sure you are wearing the correct running shoes.
Also on the Blog – Hamstring Tear Rehab
Not Long to Go!
With only a few weeks until the HBF fun run do not let your injuries keep you out of action BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TODAY so we can help you back to feeling pain free! We hope this information has been helpful and if you have any questions please leave a comment below.