Though a staple of a healthy lifestyle, exercise is one of those things that if done incorrectly, you can really harm yourself. Running is a go-to for most people looking to infuse their fitness routine with more cardio. It should be noted, however, that runners can be even more prone to injuries, especially when they’re not mindful and careful. That’s why it’s important to be aware of what can happen when you run.
This article will talk about five common warning signs for injuries in a runner as well as injuries every runner should know about. That way, you can know what preventive measures to take and how to manage injuries if they ever occur. This also applies to when you use a treadmill for running.
1. Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee is a term to describe pain around and behind the kneecap. When you do a lot of knee-bending, such as when you run, bike, walk, and jump, you are going to feel some aches on your knees. You can also get it from a direct hit on your knees, high-stress exercises, and misalignment of your bones. The condition is scientifically called Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), and it can affect anyone.
The main symptom is pain around and behind the kneecap, and you may feel it at rest or when in action. It can be worse when you walk downstairs or downhill since there is more weight felt on your knees. If it is bad, you may notice swelling in your knee and a popping or grinding sensation in your joint.
- Rest your knees and avoid putting more stress on them. You may need to reduce or stop your lunges, squats, running, and other exercises for a while.
- When running, be mindful of your form and your landing. Pounding on the ground puts extra pressure on your kneecap.
- Try running on softer surfaces and avoid running downhill. This can prevent further pain on your knees.
- Try using a knee brace.
2. Plantar Fasciitis
Your plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is when this ligament becomes inflamed. It can be caused by various things, like prolonged standing, walking, running, or a sharp blow on the ligament. As a runner, you have high risks for this kind of inflammation because of the stress on your feet as you run.
Pain at the bottom of your foot when standing, walking, running, jumping, etc.
- Avoid prolonged standing, especially on hard surfaces.
- Wear comfortable shoes when walking, running, hiking, etc. Pick a pair that suits the arch of your feet.
- Stretch your toes, calf, and ankles often, especially before and after activities like running.
3. Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is the tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. Many factors increase the risk of getting Achilles tendinitis. Among runners, the most common factors are a sudden increase in mileage and improper footwear. It’s also common among flat-footed people and those with tight calf muscles.
An ache on the Achilles’ tendon. You may also feel stiffness and tenderness, which gets better with a mild activity.
- Proper stretching
- Wear the right shoes.
4. IT Band Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is another common injury among runners. It is when the iliotibial band, the ligament from the outside part of the thigh down to the shin, is inflamed. Since the IT band helps in stabilizing and moving the joint, running and other physically demanding activities become painful or difficult.
The primary symptom is knee pain because of the inflammation of the IT band on the side of the knee. It may also present tenderness and swelling on the outside of the knee. The IT band is different from runner’s knee because the pain is outside of the knee.
- Don’t suddenly increase your mileage. You should also decrease how much you run if you begin to feel pain.
- Do a warm up before you run, such as walking half a mile or so.
- Make sure you are wearing proper running shoes.
- Avoid running on concrete or hard surfaces.
5. Shin Splints
Shin splints are a pain on the shin, which is the front of the lower legs. It’s common among runners, as well as other athletes. For athletes, it usually happens when there is a sudden increase in mileage.
Pain on the shin is the primary symptom, but it can also manifest and create swelling.
- Do not suddenly increase your mileage. Give your body some time to adjust by running more and more gradually.
- Wear shoes made for running.
- Warm up before running.
Treating and Managing Running Injuries
The first step to managing running injuries or aches is to rest. Avoid doing activities that could aggravate the problem. You can also apply ice or a cold compress on the affected areas to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to help with the pain and swelling.
If after these self-care interventions you still feel pain, you may need to see a doctor. They can evaluate you further and provide you with the response and solution that you need. Severe cases may require surgery or physical therapy, so you might want to take the necessary measures to avoid these.
These conditions may affect different parts of the body, but you will notice that most preventive measures are the same for them. All runners are prone to injuries, and while it may be difficult to avoid them, it’s not impossible. Managing them is also similar for all.
For questions, concerns, and comments, you may use the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you, and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as possible.
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