When you are a runner – experienced or new, you are at a serious risk of running related injuries. Experts have estimated that nearly 80% of the runners suffer from some sort of injury every year.
Thankfully, there are preventive actions you can take to reduce the risk of suffering from one or more of the injuries which are common among runners. Here is information regarding the most common running injuries, and ways to prevent them:
- Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition and is possibly one of the most common reasons for heel pain in runners. It occurs when you strain, or over train the plantar fascia ligament which connects the toes to the heel bone. Inflammation of this ligament can also cause this painful condition. The pain can be felt as soon as you step on your feet in the morning and put some weight on them. The pain can be intense and sharp or constant and dull. The treatment of plantar fasciitis includes: applying ice compresses, resting, heel pads and bandages and keeping the foot elevated. In some cases, the treatment may include physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medications. In order to avoid plantar fasciitis, make sure you wear proper running shoes which support your feet and stop them from excessive pronation. Also, your running shoes must provide proper cushioning and good shock absorption to minimize the impact on the feet from hitting the ground. Avoid wearing worn out or tight-fitting shoes, instead read sites specialized on running shoes such as Runabees and check their top picks for your specific need. If you have tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons, or are overweight, you are at a greater risk of suffering from plantar fasciitis.
- Runner’s knee
Runner’s knee as the name itself suggests is very common among runners. This condition when the kneecap gets irritated can cause constant dull pain as well as sudden sharp pain due to squatting, kneeling or climbing stairs. The reasons can include: overtraining, unconditioned quadriceps as well as tight hamstrings. The ways to prevent this condition is to add some more hamstring stretching and strength exercises for the quadriceps to your training routine. Also, you should consider running on softer surfaces which have lesser impact on the heels and feet, and refrain from increasing your mileage with more than 10% per week. Also, always make sure that you are wearing running shoes which are appropriate for your gait type and which fit well.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)
This is a condition which causes sharp pain above one or both knees during running and after that. It is caused by an inflammation of the Iliotibial band which keeps the knee stable and moves around the femurs when running. The pain will increase when you run longer distances due to the increased repetitive motions. This condition can cause swelling and difficulty bending your knee. Once again, to prevent it, you need to take it easy with the increase of your running mileage, and stick to the 10% increase per week rule. Also, running on softer surfaces will help reduce the shock of the impact with the ground to the feet, knees and legs. Adding hip strengthening exercises to your training can also help you stay away from this painful condition.
Do not overtrain, and do not try to skip out of the 10% increase of mileage per week in order to avoid these and other painful health conditions, as well as suffering from other running related injuries. Also, sufficient and proper stretching and warming up before running as well as an efficient cool down program is also essential if you want to stay healthy and on the track. Adding strengthening and stretching exercises for the different muscles, ligaments and joints of your legs is also crucial.
If you have suffered some sort of injury or have one of these painful conditions, give yourself time for proper recovery before going back to running.