Joint problems in the lower extremities are frequently the source of running injuries. They can occur in both novice and seasoned runners, and they’re fairly typical, especially if you don’t take any precautions to avoid them.
There has been an increase in running, possibly due to people’s increased desire for the outdoors or because they may not have enough room or gym equipment at home.
Table of Contents
- Risk Factors for a Running Injury
- Common Running Injuries
- Treatment Options For Running Injuries
- How To Prevent Running Injuries
- Injury Prevention Tips
Risk Factors for a Running Injury
Some situations increase your risk of injury:
- Excess weight.
- Logging a significant weekly mileage.
- Having a low running cadence.
- Running in scuffed or worn-out footwear.
Four categories can be used to categorize sports injuries in general.
- Injury from collisions and falls.
- Dislocations and fractures.
- Sprains and strains (injuries to the muscles and ligaments).
Most running injuries are due to overuse.
Common Running Injuries
In reality, most runners experience some sort of discomfort while running, whether it be a sore knee, achy ankle, or a tight hamstring.
While these ‘injuries’ may not be severe enough to require you to sit out, they prevent you from enjoying your runs to their fullest.
Below are a select few running injuries in particular that frequently affect runners.
1. Runner’s Knee
When running or after spending a lot of time sitting down, runners’ knees cause a dull, aching pain around the front of the knee.
Some runners may experience kneecap discomfort and a rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound.
2. IT Band Syndrome
The IT band, also known as the Iliotibial Band, is a thick band of tissue that runs outside the thigh, from the hips to the tops of the shins. Running can, over time, put too much strain on your IT band and cause hip or knee pain.
Also known as Shin splints, is the term used to describe pain in the lower leg between the knee and the ankle.
The injury pain you experience in the front, or inner part of your lower legs gets worse when you move around.
4. Plantar Fasciitis
Pain from plantar fasciitis is typically felt after exercise or in the early hours of the following morning. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the feet tissues that happens when you walk or run.
5. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis symptoms include pain on the bottom of the foot, either on or near the heel. It may feel like a bruise, inflamed and swollen to some people, or like a stabbing. However, most people experience it as soon as they get out of bed in the morning.
6. Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles are most frequently caused by turning the ankle while moving quickly or walking. Sometimes this is minor, and you can keep running. More serious sprains result in pain and swelling after the event.
7. Pulled Muscle
When a muscle is overworked or overloaded due to poor mechanics, a pulled muscle shapes. This results from running on tired or sore legs, sprinting to increase speed, drastically increasing distance, or running uphill without giving your body time to adjust.
8. Stress Fracture
These minuscule hairline fractures develop in your load-bearing bones over time, usually in your foot or leg. You will experience stress fracture during physical activity, which worsens over time.
9. Morton’s Neuroma
This condition affects the interdigital nerve, the area between your second and third toes where nerve inflammation most frequently occurs, but it can also extend to your fourth toe.
This often results in tingling, numbness, or pain in the foot or toes during a run.
10. Other Injuries That Runners Tend To Experience Include:
● Toenail ingrowths – When the nail’s edge pierces the skin, it results in an ingrown toenail. If it develops an infection, it may ooze pus and cause pain and inflammation along your toenail.
● Bursitis – Under your muscles and tendons are fluid-filled sacs called bursae. They support joint lubrication. Running can irritate these sacs, which can result in pain in your hip or near your knee.
● Meniscal tear – A knee cartilage tear is referred to as a meniscal tear. Your joints frequently feel like they are locking as a result.
● Anterior compartment syndrome – When your nerves and blood vessels are compressed by the muscles in the front of your lower leg, this happens. A medical emergency could arise from this syndrome.
● Calf strain – Your nerves and blood vessels become compressed due to the muscles in the front of your lower leg.
Treatment Options For Running Injuries
Increased exercise is good, but if it’s not done correctly, there’s a chance of getting hurt. Your knees, ankles, and feet are particularly stressed during running.
An experienced foot doctor can offer a variety of treatments – podiatry services, and preventative measures to heal or prevent these conditions.
In order to receive a proper diagnosis, it’s a good idea to follow up with your doctor if you feel any type of pain or discomfort with running.
For numerous common running injuries, treatment includes physical therapy sessions and targeted exercises, the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation),
Moreover, no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen, and reducing the frequency and distance of your runs are all recommended.
Additional, more focused therapies could include:
- To prevent Runner’s Knee: work on your hip and quadriceps muscles, stretch your calves and quadriceps, and wear orthotic shoes.
- To treat IT band syndrome: stretch your IT bands daily and build up your hip muscles.
- To prevent Tibia injuries: work on strengthening your glutes, and hamstrings, and changing your running style.
- Your calves should be stretched and strengthened if you have Plantar Fasciitis.
- To relieve Achilles Tendonitis, stretch or rub your calves.
How To Prevent Running Injuries
It’s unlikely that a runner will be able to prevent injuries completely. Fortunately, there are some precautions to take to avoid or lessen the severity of overuse injuries from running.
Purchase some quality trainers
Make sure you purchase a pair that allows you to run normally and fits the shape of your feet. Some specialized sporting goods stores can observe you run and recommend the best shoes for you.
Know your limitations
While running, pay attention to your body. Do not ignore a twinge or tightness that you have begun to feel and continue. An injury can result from rushing in or pushing too hard.
Nourish your body
How well you perform can be impacted by what you eat before, during, and after working out. A proper diet supports your training programs. It speeds up your recovery and lowers your risk of injury.
Warm up and cool down
Before a run, spend five to fifteen minutes warming up. Engage in some light aerobic exercise and dynamic stretching, which works your muscles and joints through their full range of motion.
Try to spend five to fifteen minutes cooling down after your run. Walking and stretching your leg muscles will help.
Have recovery days
By overusing your body, excessive running can increase your risk of injury. Alternate between easy and longer runs, and take recovery days off to give your body a break.
Combine strength training with running
Consistent strength training can cut your risk of overuse injuries in half. Two strength training sessions per week are ideal.
Injury Prevention Tips
Running injuries can happen to anyone, but you can minimize your risk of injury with the following tips:
● Get ready before you begin running: Warm up by jogging briskly for 5–10 minutes or performing dynamic mobility stretches like arm or leg swings.
● Gradually up your running volume: Many runners adhere to the “10% rule,” which states that they shouldn’t increase their weekly running volume by more than 10% at once.
● Attend to any persistent injuries: Rest nagging injuries immediately so they don’t develop into more severe issues. You can receive an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan from a physical therapist.
● Work on improving your technique: Your muscles and joints may be put under more stress if you run incorrectly. You can benefit from working with a running coach or even documenting your running style.
Running regularly is a fantastic way to increase cardiovascular health, maintain an active lifestyle, promote longevity, and strengthen bones.
But unfortunately, a lot of runners experience injuries from time to time. Your knees, legs, and feet are the most frequent areas of the body to suffer injuries from running.
You can recover from common running injuries by using the RICE protocol, taking an NSAID for pain, adhering to a physical therapy schedule, and performing specific exercises.
Also, reducing the quantity and distance of your runs can also hasten your recovery.
If you have an overuse injury from running or before increasing your running volume and intensity, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.
If you take precautions to avoid these common running injuries, you can run regularly and injury-free for years to come.