05 Dec 2017

How to Avoid Common Running Injuries

How to Avoid Common Running Injuries

It’s rather ironic that in our quest to keep fit and healthy this can sometimes result in injury. Knowing when you need to let your body rest and recuperate is crucial, and whilst many runners will experience the odd aches and pains, you should be aware of when a slight niggle becomes a bigger pain to help identify when it’s time to give it a rest.

These running injuries are common complaints for many runners and many can find themselves at risk of developing some of the ailments. We’ve put together some of the most common injuries and how to reduce their impact on your running ability.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, occurs when the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap becomes irritated. Whilst it usually becomes an issue when running it can also become irritated from long periods of sitting, climbing stairs and from weakened muscle areas; including the quads, hips and glutes.

When you feel irritation in your knee, often at the front, around or behind the kneecap, it may be a dull or sharp, severe pain. To prevent further damage you should stop running and allow your body to recover by taking rest days. Reducing the distance you run or introducing swimming into your workout can also help to reduce the pain.

Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon connects the two major calf muscles to your heel at the back of the ankle, and if you’re a regular runner it can cause the area to become stressed and tightened over time. Pain or swelling in this area is a sign that your Achilles tendon is in need of some attention.

Stop running to avoid a big flare up and introduce ice and massage to help calm the area, when treated promptly you can avoid prolonged symptoms. You could also work on strengthening the area by introducing heel drops to help keep calves strong.

Hamstring

Hamstring issues arise when muscles are weakened or imbalanced, for example when your quadriceps overpower your hamstrings. Pain can often feel sudden and come on almost immediately.

Ice and rest are both key to your recovery from a hamstring injury, and it can take anything from a week to 6 months to heal properly. A foam roller can help to alleviate the tightness in the muscle, with compression tights improving the blood flow.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Plantar Fasciitis affects the bottom of the foot and occurs from the shock of running, as the bottom of the foot absorbs the impact. Small tears and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments can occur in the bottom of the foot from heel to toe.

The pain often feels like a dull ache and those with extremely low or high arches can be more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Like many other injuries, running through the pain can delay healing so taking a break from running is advised.

Shin Splints

Small tears in the muscles surrounding the tibia lead shin splints to become a problem for runners. Shin splints are prevalent in new runners or those returning to running after a break, and can be a sign of doing too much, too quick.

Increasing your speed and mileage slowly can reduce your risk of shin splints and keeping a comfortable pace when you do run is advised. Wearing the wrong shoe can also impact shin splints, and getting your training shoes fitted at a reputable retailer can greatly reduce your risk of developing shin splints and other running injuries.

Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned runner, it’s important you recognise the warning signals of these running injuries and are prepared to put your running shoes to rest whilst you recover. You should always include a good warm up and cool down before and after your run to help your muscles adjust more easily.