As one of the most accessible and rewarding workouts around, it’s easy to think that running is relatively risk-free and easy to get into. It’s also, unfortunately, wrong. Running is a high-impact and highly demanding exercise, and there are some very frequent running overuse injuries associated with it, as well.
Here, we’re going to look at six of the most common running overuse injuries, as well as what you can do to avoid them. Make sure you know your stuff before you set off.
1. Plantar fasciitis
There’s a soft band of tissue that extends along the bottom of the foot. This supports the arch of the foot and it can get irritated over time. The pain caused by this irritation can get pretty severe first thing in the morning, and gets worse if you run or even walk too briskly.
To avoid plantar fasciitis, It’s important to have athletic shoes with good support, and to replace shoes that are starting to lose support. Being overweight also puts more pressure on the bottom of your feet, so taking steps to lose weight such changing your diet can also help you avoid it.
2. Hip bursitis
The inflammation of the bursa in the hip, a sac full of something call synovial fluid that’s supposed to reduce hip friction, can get extremely painful. This can often happen to runners who run downhill, and the injury can cause intense, radiating pain when walking, running or cycling.
The simplest way to avoid hip bursitis is to run on ever terrain, and on smoother surfaces such as concrete instead of asphalt. It’s the unevenness of hip level that can cause the initial pressure and injury in the first place. Supportive running shoes are, again, a must.
3. Shin splints
Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, this happens when the muscles around the shin bone pull on it while running. These repeated contractions can cause a lot of pain in the shin, which tends to fade away while running but can return when you’re finished again.
Taking a measured, slow approach to your routine is the best way to prevent shin splints. Running of softer surfaces, increasing your mileage a little at a time, and ensuring you have enough rest and recovery time are all crucial. You should also learn proper running form, avoiding striking the ground with your foot and running on your toes. Lastly, doing toe raise exercises daily can help.
4. Runner’s knee
Also known as anterior knee pain syndrome, runner’s knee is a term often used to refer to any kind of pain in the knee, but it’s actually a specific kind of pain in the front of the knee. The causes of runner’s knee can differ, and the pain can range from mild to severe.
A check with the doctor is essential if you want to pinpoint the source of the runner’s knee. However, exercises that improve core stability and hip strength, such as planks, squats and so on may be able to help you prevent it from raising its ugly head.
5. Muscle cramps
By far the most common all running injuries, muscle cramps are characterised by sudden and involuntary contractions of one or more muscles. This can seize up your movements and cause a lot of pain. While they are temporary and mostly nothing to worry about, you can cut your exercise short, so you want to avoid them.
Nutrition and hydration are the key to preventing muscle cramps. Drink plenty of water and electrolytes before and after exercise and make sure you eat enough sodium every day to replace the sodium lost through your sweat. That low sodium is one of the primary causes of muscle cramps, after all.
6. Stress fractures
Stress fractures happen when your bones suffer stress quicker than they’re able to heal and strengthen. It can be one of the most serious running accidents, leading to a plethora of complications. If you feel severe pain In the hip, thigh, ankles or feet that worsens after a run and even into the next day, it’s important to get it looked at as soon as possible. Stress fractures are usually caused by poor running habits, such as bad form, bad shoes, running inappropriately on different surfaces, and trying to increase the difficulty of your routine too quickly.
Hopefully, the injures explored above have put the fear of running into you enough to take the time to ensure you’re running safely. Naturally, the tips we explained alongside them can help you get over that fear by being a smarter, safer runner. Don’t hesitate the damage of running with poor form or poor gear.