We’re on the cusp of summer and more and more amateur athletes and fitness freaks are hitting the trails. Whether to upkeep that beach body or simply preserve a disciplined fitness routine. Some actually just like to run. Running is a healthy, active habit that provides extraordinary cardio benefits and engages your entire core.
It’s natural, most people can do it, and there’s that vaunted “runner’s high”, the rush of endorphins and adrenaline that keeps runners coming back. While aches and pains are common to running, especially as you’re getting acclimated to a new routine or new shoes, but the potential for injury exists – as with any activity.
Do bear in mind that, contrary to popular opinion, most running injuries are not caused by poor form, but by habits in routine and intensity. Some people might tell you that “heel-runners” are more prone to injury, but there’s little evidence to support that.
Always have serious pain and injury accessed by a qualified doctor or physiotherapist, who can determine whether or not your injury is an issue of form.
Signs of Shin Splints: In minor cases, splints manifest in soreness and inflammation of the shin and lower knee. In major cases, it can be a shooting pain from heel to hip as the tibia bone incurs a vertical stress fracture.
How Are Shin Splints Caused? A one-two punch of changes to running speed and running intensity. Splits are a common injury among new runners who either haven’t acclimated to their routine, or whom are changing it too quickly or transitioning to speed training without proper precaution.
How to Immediately Address Shin Splints: Ice, elevation, and rest are the best short-term solutions. When transitioning back into a running routine, slow jogs on soft surfaces such as grass or gravel trails can reduce the impact on your shins.
Signs of Runner’s Knee: As stress is caused to the patella, runner’s knee will produce a sharp pain behind the kneecap, often made worse while walking on uneven ground or on slopes. The knee may also feel like it’s “giving out” or can’t support your weight.
How is Runner’s Knee Caused? Runner’s knee has numerous causes, and not all are obvious. High arches from improper footwear, a biomechanical defect with the patella, strain on the hamstring and quadriceps, or even degenerative damage to knee ligaments are all causes of Runner’s Knee.
Interestingly, women are also twice as more likely as men to experience Runner’s Knee due to wide hips leading to a sharper angle between femur and knee.
How to Immediately Address Runner’s Knee: As there’s no consistent cause, there’s no consistent solution for all cases. For minor knee ache, corrective orthotic footwear, running on softer surfaces, and striking your feet directly under your centre of gravity will prevent aggrevation of the knee.
Signs of Achilles Tendonitis: Localized swelling and/or pain in the band of tissue above the heel at the Achilles tendon is a clear indicator of tendonitis. As the condition worsens, sufferers will feel sharp shooting pains up the back of their calf and tight calf muscles that never seem to relax.
How is Achilles Tendonitis Caused? Tendonitis primarily points to an overuse injury, though overuse may not always be the direct cause. Changes in running routine or intensity may cause inflammation. Also worth looking at is the quality of your shoes, including whether or not a lack of arch support is pushing force directly through the tendon.
How to Immediately Address Achilles Tendonitis: As with any injury, ice, rest and stretching will manage symptoms of pain. As the Achilles tendon is a sensitive and important piece of tissue in our structure and support, any signs of tendonitis should get immediate attention.
If pain persists, you may need orthotic supports and physiotherapy to aid in recovery and prevent further overuse damage.
Signs of Plantar Fasciitis: Pain that’s often described as somewhere between stepping on a Lego to stepping on a nail, located anywhere between the arch of the foot to the center of the heel. Tissue at the bottom of the foot may be tight and flexing your foot may be painful or difficult.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Caused? Primary caused by weakening of the foot muscles, leading to the foot overcompensating and putting force on the heel. This is why many point to heel-running as a cause of foot pain, however it’s also important to look at quality of shoes, arch support, and overuse injury.
How to Immediately Address Plantar Fasciitis: Ice, stretching and rest helps with most symptoms. Many people find rolling their feet on a golf ball helps soften muscles and reduce tightness. We also recommend calf stretches before and after any run. If your pain is caused by poor quality shoes, orthotic inserts and supports can keep your feet from compensating and reduce incidences of injury.
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