Running is a great way to stay in shape and it doesn’t come with a lot of the same dangers as competitive team sports, but that doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself. Runners have their own set of risks to deal with and if you don’t run with good form, using the right gear, you could put yourself out of action and it’ll take a while to recover. There are a couple of injuries that runners often fall prey to, here’s what they are and how you can avoid them.
This is just a fancy name for an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. It usually gives you a sharp pain in the heel or the arch of the foot. It can be a slight annoyance but if you leave it untreated for too long, it’ll soon become incredibly painful. The two main causes are overworking and lack of proper footwear. If you haven’t got proper running shoes on, you won’t have enough support and you open yourself up to injury. Choosing the right one is a bit of a minefield but if you check out the Running Shoes Guru you’ll find plenty of great reviews to help you find the right ones. Good support should stop you from getting Plantar Fasciitis, as long as you aren’t running too often.
It’s tempting to get out and run every day when you’re constantly competing with yourself and trying to smash your best time. But you’ve got no chance of beating your record if you can’t run at all. Even with the best running shoes, your feet can only take so much. If you overwork them you’ll almost certainly end up with problems, so always take a couple of days off throughout the week.
This one is the Achilles heel of runners everywhere. All it means is that you’ve got inflammation in your Achilles tendon. It takes a long while to heal because there isn’t that much blood flow to the area so preventing it is vital. You’ll get pain around your heel and up the back of your foot, there’s also a lot of swelling that can make it unbearable to walk, let alone run.
Tight calves are one of the main culprits of an Achilles injury because if your calves aren’t taking enough of the impact, it all gets put on the Achilles tendon. If you overtrain and your calves are suffering because of it, you’re likely to develop an Achilles injury. You’re also at risk if there are sudden increases in the intensity of your training. If you’ve decided that your current training regimes just aren’t pushing you hard enough, you’ll want to take things up a notch. But if you go from running twice a week to five times a week and increase the distance at the same time, you’ll hurt yourself. Always increase the intensity gradually over a few weeks and you should be fine.
This is a tendon that runs from your hip to your knee and there are all sorts of ways that you can damage it. If you’re feeling a sharp stabbing pain in the side of your knee when you run, that’s a sure sign of an IT injury.
Running downhill a lot is one of the causes because the angle of the incline puts extra stress on your IT. When you run, you usually run with a slight lean, even if you don’t notice it. Running on different sides of the roads helps you to balance it out a bit but if you’re always taking the same route, you could be putting extra stress on your legs. Changing up your route to cut out hills and run in different directions is the best way to avoid an IT injury.
If you experience a dull ache under the kneecap whenever you run, you’ve got runner’s knee. It’s caused by different things in different people but there are a couple of common causes. Not wearing proper footwear is one, but that can be said of pretty much any running injury. Running on uneven ground is another big cause of runner’s knee that can be solved fairly easily by changing your route or buying running shoes with a spongier sole. If you’ve got weak quads or hips, your knees are picking up all the slack.
When it comes to sorting the problem the bottom line is, don’t run if it hurts. Try new footwear and always put an ice pack on it when you’ve got pain.
Most running injuries are caused by overwork, bad form, and lack of proper footwear. If you know what you’re doing and you invest in the right gear, you should be fine.