Common Running Injuries (And How To Prevent Them)

Injured woman from running

From the Run 5, Nominate 5, Donate 5 challenge to yet another workout on Instagram live, one thing is for sure: lockdown has seen a huge rise in the number of people trying to stay fit and active during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Despite new research that the average Brit is burning 635 calories less due to their daily commute being put on hold, pounding the pavements is on the up, leading to more people wondering how they’re going to stay injury-free for the remaining lockdown period.

While people have heard of common injuries, such as runner’s knee and shin splints, many don’t know how to prevent them or treat them when they occur.

Luckily, Emily Partridge, MSK Clinical Lead, Bupa Health Clinics is here to help you get ahead of the game.

Shin Splints

“This is one of the most common running injuries, especially for beginners who aren’t used to running, or for those recovering from an injury. The term refers to lower leg pain below the knee and is often a result of muscle overuse, wearing worn-out shoes or running on hard surfaces.

“To help prevent shin splints, make sure you build up your mileage and fitness slowly and combine running with other exercises. Yoga is a great exercise to combine with running, as it stretches and strengthens your muscles.

“Also, I’d advise checking you have the right shoes to run in and replace them every 300 miles. If you already have shin splints, stretch or foam roll your shins regularly to aid recovery.”

Runner’s Knee

“This is a catch-all terms which describes several injuries that cause pain around the kneecap. Helping to prevent runner’s knee is similar to shin splints, make sure you build up your mileage slowly and that you’re running in the right shoes.

“Warming up and cooling down properly is essential, too and this should include stretching the muscles around the ankle, knee and hip.”

Achilles Tendonitis

“The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. Achilles tendonitis is a result of the overuse of this muscle.

“It typically happens when runners quickly increase the intensity or duration of their runs.

“To help reduce the risk of Achilles tendonitis, you should increase the intensity and the amount you’re running gradually. Also, make sure you’re stretching your calf muscles before and after exercising.”

Plantar Fasciitis

“Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot around the heel. This is often a stabbing pain that is particularly painful when you take your first steps in the morning.

“The pain can return after sitting or standing for long periods of time. To prevent it, choose shoes that offer good support, not only for running, but in your day-to-day life as well.

“Swap running for low-impact exercises, such as cycling or swimming until the injury has healed and make sure you are stretching your leg and foot muscles properly.

IT Band Syndrome

IT band syndrome is a very common injury for runners and cyclists alike. It is described as an overuse injury that affects “knee stability”. The ilitobial band is a piece of connective tissue that runs from from the hip to the knee. When it is characterised as “tight”, it causes the patella to become unstable.

This injury tends to appear and disappear quite frequently as a recurring syndrome. It is an underlying issue that is aggravated by various symptoms. These factors include poor running form, improper training regiment and bad nutrition. The most significant sign of IT band syndrome is the feeling of the knee about to fail or “give way”. This can be daunting for athletes if left untreated. If you are experiencing pain while running or performing any weight bearing exercises, ITBS may be affecting you. Other signs are noises like popping sounds while running, which can be quite painful.

Any Final Tips?

“Soreness with any new exercise routine is normal but persistent pain should not be ignored. I’d really stress the importance of seeking advice and booking an appointment with a physio if you are struggling with an injury, you can do this virtually over the phone or through video call.”

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