• No matter what sport you play, or what your overall fitness routine entails, running is usually fits into the plan in some way. There are those who run as a means of conditioning for another sport or just to keep in shape, and those whose primary activity is the running itself.• Whatever your reason for running, injuries are often an unfortunate piece of the puzzle. The nature of the activity puts stress on various parts of the lower body. Here are some of the more common running-related injuries, how to treat them and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Runner’s Knee• Runner’s knee is known technically as ‘Ilio Tibial Band Friction’, but it tends to happen so often in runners that it was renamed. It’s estimated that one in ten runners will experience runner’s knee at some point.• Symptoms – Some of the symptoms of runner’s knee include pain on the outside of the knee joint that might up the thigh or down through the outside of the shin. Usually, the pain is only noticeable while actually running.• Treatment – If you suffer from runner’s knee, ice packs will help reduce inflammation when it acts up. Your doctor might prescribe you anti-inflammatory medication at the onset of the problem, and physiotherapy can also ease symptoms.• Prevention – To help prevent runner’s knee, try to increase your training load gradually. This will prevent the tissues from being overloaded with force. Since increased foot pronation is sometimes a cause, using shoes with good arch support may also prevent problems.
Shin Splints• The term shin splints is often used to describe general pain in the shin area that was caused by running. It isn’t a medical term and is often used when medial tibial stress syndrome is the actual culprit. Medial tibial stress syndrome is relatively common in runners.• Symptoms - Pain along the inside of the shin while you’re running and even while you’re at rest is the main symptom of medial tibial stress syndrome or other issues that may be called ‘shin splints’. It’s wise to visit your doctor if you do feel this pain to help narrow down the true cause.• Treatment – Physiotherapy is the generally accepted treatment protocol for shin pain problems. Rest, stretches and strengthening exercises are typically used to get you back running.• Prevention – Wearing shoes with shock absorbent insoles is one way to prevent shin splint pain. Arch supports and having a gait analysis performed to correct any postural problems may also be effective.
Plantar Fasciitis• There is a fibrous sheath that runs along the length of the sole of the foot that’s known as the Plantar Fascia. When this sheath becomes inflamed, it is known as ‘plantar fasciitis’.• Symptoms – The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain close to the heel bone, usually on the inside part of the heel. You’ll usually notice the pain in the morning or when running.• Treatment – Ice packs, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy are common treatments for plantar fasciitis. Gently pulling your toes toward your shins often helps loosen up the affected area.• Prevention – Over pronation and insufficient footwear are often the culprits for plantar fasciitis. Using insoles in your shoes that support your arch on the inside of the foot can often prevent you from having problems.
Blisters• Most people have suffered from a blister at one time or another, and runners are definitely included in that group. The balls of the feet, heels and toes are common areas where runners get blisters. Prolonged friction usually causes layers of skin to separate and fill with blood or fluid, causing a blister.• Symptoms – Blisters aren’t horribly painful, but you will notice some discomfort at the site. Many times, you won’t know that you actually have a blister until you remove your shoes and socks and take a look.• Treatment – If you find that you have a blister, it’s important to clean it well and cover it up with clean bandaging. If you’re at a running event and get one, the medical people there may be able to relieve some pressure by lancing the blister off first.• Prevention – It’s much easier and more comfortable to prevent a blister rather than treat one. Special blister prevention socks, properly fitted shoes and using an anti-blister stick can all help relieve the friction that causes blisters. It’s also important to break in new shoes slowly and avoid going for long runs when you first buy them.
Achilles Tendinopathy • Achilles tendinopathy is also called Achilles tendonitis, and typically features degeneration of the Achilles tendon. This tendon is located at the back of the ankle just above your heel. Achilles tendinopathy comes on gradually and is usually seen in runners over 40. • Symptoms – Pain and weakness in the Achilles tendon are the main symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy. The affected area may also feel tender when you touch it and hurt even more with activity. • Treatment – If you’re diagnosed with Achilles tendinopathy, you may have to end up resting for a period of time to allow it to heal. You may also be referred to a physiotherapist to start a stretching and strengthening routine when the time is right. • Prevention – It’s important to stretch and perform regular strengthening exercises in addition to your running, to help prevent the injury from occurring. You may also want to have your gait or foot positioning checked by a physiotherapist to make sure everything is in alignment.
Risk Factors• Some general risk factors that can increase your chances of a running injury include:• Overuse• Abnormal foot pronation• Weak hip abductors• Inconsistent training• Improper shoes• Running on uneven surfaces• Prior injury• Improper running form