Running is a great way to exercise but like every sport, comes with a risk of injury! Beginner runners are especially prone to injury. Here are some common running injuries that we see in the clinic, and most importantly how to avoid them!
IT Band Syndrome (ITBS):
This is one of the most common problems we see with new runners who do too much running too soon! Symptoms include a sharp pain at the outer aspect of the knee, especially when heel striking. Pain can radiate to the outer thigh or calf and it is worse when running long distances or downhill.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS):
This injury is commonly known as runner’s knee. It presents as pain when running, jumping, squatting or kneeling. Usually, pain is at the front of the knee cap but it can be anywhere around the knee joint!
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS):
This is more commonly known as shin splints! It is very common and is thought to affect up to 20% of all runners at some stage in their running careers. This will present as a sharp and intense ache at the front of the shin, usually in the bottom two thirds of the shin bone. Pain can persist for hours or days after cessation of activity (should be no more than 48 hours!!). Pain is mostly felt with running or fast walking. If this problem goes untreated and ignored it can lead to a more serious injury like a stress fracture.
This is a problem we usually see in older runners; however, anyone can get it! It is thought to affect around 1 in 10 runners at some stage in their life. It is a notoriously stubborn problem and can take a long time for it to heal, however 90% of cases will resolve within 12 months of conservative treatment! It usually presents with a gradual onset of heel pain. The hallmark sign is intense heel pain during the first few steps after waking or a period of inactivity. Pain reduces with moderate activity but worsens during the day, or after periods of standing or walking.
This is another common injury we see with short – middle distance runners. It is less common in long distance runners. Morning pain at the Achilles is a classic symptom. Usually there will be some weakness at the calf muscle and stiffness around the ankle.
This is the biggest mistake we see at the clinic, especially for those who are new to running. Doing too much too soon is usually what leads to an injury. It is essential to build up your tolerance to running gradually over time. A good rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%, although this may be too much for some people still!
This is a huge part of injury prevention. You have to ensure you are recovering well in between your runs or else you will be at risk of injury. Ensuring adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration is essential to prepare your body for each session. Making sure that you leave rest days in your program is a very important part of training.
The old saying that “You can’t burn the candle at both ends” is very much true for runners. This comes back to recovery. Having healthy habits will help you to avoid any injuries. Avoiding alcohol will really help your recovery in between sessions. Smoking will make your runs much tougher and is in general an assault on your body.
Strength training is an important component of avoiding injury. Although evidence for performance is mixed, it has been shown to improve running economy. This means you can run at the same pace with less effort! Your calf muscles take over 8 times body weight when running so it is very important to keep your muscles good and strong. In general, strength training will make you a better and more robust athlete, and maintaining strong muscles will help you tolerate the loads your body is exposed to when running
Making sure you have the right footwear is essential for running. Your running shoes should have some support and be comfortable. It may take a while to find a pair that suits you so make sure you try a few on before buying a pair.
If you think you may have suffered an injury while running, why not book a FREE 15-minute discovery visit? In this complimentary visit you will have a chance to speak to a physio about your needs/and or condition and they will let you know if physio is right for you.
To book an appointment or a discovery visit, call us on: 0207 636 8845