Running injuries are not the type that pop up suddenly. Much like the practice of long distance running itself, running injuries rear their ugly heads over time. Injured runners usually don’t know that they even have an injury until after it is too late. The goal here is to educate yourself so that you won’t have to deal with the recovery time necessary to rehab from a major running injury. Knowledge is power, and will help to prevent you from damaging yourself out on the road or track.
One of the most common injuries that runners sustain is called plantar fasciitis. What are some of the symptoms? The most common is a persistent, sharp painful feeling at the heel base. To some, this proves to be nothing more than an annoyance, to others it can be completely debilitating. So, what causes plantar fasciitis? The root of the problem can be traced to weak and/or tight muscles that aren’t able to handle the stress of a sudden increase in running. Overuse, which is common in the running community leads to this as well. So how do we fix it? Start with stretching and orthotic stability shoes. NewBalance makes the MR760 (seen below) which comes highly recommended. The stretching will help to loosen up the muscles that attach to the heel and will allow for more natural stability down the road. The permanent fix will be a strengthening regiment, but always consult your doctor before starting any training program.
IT Band Syndrome
If you’re a runner, I know you’ve had this sensation before; the feeling that something is being jabbed into the side of your knee? Yeah, that sensation. Does it happen more on steep declines? If so, you may have IT Band Syndrome. So what causes this? Honestly, I wish there was a better answer, but a lot of things can cause IT Band Syndrome. If you are a runner who does a lot of down hill running, or runs consistently on a surface that slopes in one direction, you may be putting pressure on the IT Bands, causing this ailment. Since there isn’t a pinpoint cause, the fix is just as vague. Recommendations vary, but for our purposes, I would recommend that you simply avoid prolonged downhill runs, (sorry San Franciscans) and move your runs from one side of a sloped surface to the other on a rotating basis. The aim here is to even out the impact and reduce the singular strain on one knee or the other.
Knees take a real beating whilst eating up the pavement on your runs. Its no wonder that there is an injury specifically named for runners that relates directly to the knee. Runners knee is an ache beneath the kneecap while running. It may come and go, but typically grows worse as the workout intensity is heightened. Causes for runner’s knee tend vary dependant upon the runner, but old worn out shoes is a common cause. In order to reduce the pain you will want to ice the affected area to reduce inflammation, as well as take some ibuprofen or similar anti inflammatory which will promote healing.
A fittingly horrible name for a fittingly painful ailment. Shin splints are often misunderstood due to the visceral nature of their name. If you have shin splints, it does not mean that your shin bone is splintering necessarily. Shin splints can describe a number of pain causing ailments in the shin region. Many times, shin splints, similar to plantar fasciitis can be caused by a sudden increase in physical activity. A rapid ascent into running, planting or turning will lead to any number of issues due to the underdeveloped musculature in the lower legs and foot regions. If you do experience shin pain, rest your legs, take an anti inflammatory like ibuprofen and ice regularly. Ease yourself into a running routine so as to increase muscle strength gradually.