Common running injuries and how to avoid them
One thing about running is it can become addictive. People who have never been runners before but are all of a sudden running more, going further and training harder can sometimes find themselves battling little niggles or injury. Hevents spoke to Ethos Health physiotherapist Dave Naylor about some of the common lost-distance running injuries and how best to prevent them:
Dave has seen his fair share of slips, trips, ankle sprains, strains and knee ligament injuries from trail running but he has seen plenty of injuries from road running too.
“The vast majority of complaints are overuse injuries of the lower limbs,” Naylor told Hevents. “Some common running injuries are plantar fasciitis (heel pain); Achilles tendon pain; shin pain/shin splints; pain at the front of the knee, especially when going downstairs and down hills; hip and low back pain; and calf tightness and injury.”
He suggested a combination of the following are most commonly the causes of these injuries:
Training error/pacing: Either going too hard or too soon, meaning insufficient time for the body's systems to adapt, or not enough training which can lead to race day exhaustion.
Footwear: Running shoes provide four basic things: 1. Protection; 2. Grip; 3. Cushioning; and 4. Support. Because everyone is different (shapes, weight, running style and experience) we all have varying needs for the shoe we run in. Different shoes provide more or less of each, and there is a big mismatch between what you need and what your shoe provides. When it doesn't line up, this contributes to problems.
Inflexibility: A lack of flexibility stops your joints moving in an optimal pattern and results in the loading up of your tendons, amongst other things. Tendons connect muscles to bones and the sustained overloading of joints or tendons can cause pain.
Insufficient strength: Running places unique demands on the body and our often sedentary lifestyles and occupations do not match up. Leg strength, co-ordination, balance and core stability are all hugely important in preventing injury.
Pushing through pain: This is the biggie - enthusiasm and determination sometimes wins out over common sense and a mild nagging pain can quickly become more intense and take much longer to get better. If you have a niggle get it seen to as soon as possible - you'll end up saving time and money, and you'll get back to your usual activity much sooner!
Injury prevention, according to Naylor includes building up slowly, choosing the right footwear, listening to your body and seeking immediate help if something does not feel right, stretching, being active at work and home life as much as possible; and seeking a professional assessment to any running related injury you might incur.