Stress-Free Running to Avoid Injuries

Because running sports are both high-impact and weight-bearing, triathletes are more prone to injuries as compared to swimmers and cyclists. It has been proven that a lot of injuries that occur in running sports happen when athletes overwork themselves. Other possible cause of running injuries include wearing old and worn-out shoes or shoes that don’t fit properly and the type of surface that one runs on.

Proper progression is important in any sport, especially in running sports. You should inspect your footwear regularly and replace them as needed, especially when they are already worn out. One way to find out if your shoes are due for replacement is by pressing your thumb into the sides of the cushioned soles of your shoes.

If the rubber isn’t giving anymore, this is a sign that your shoes are already worn and are not able to absorb impact as they should. For the next few paragraphs, we’ll talk about frequent injuries by runners. Training smart is one of the most effective ways to avoid these injuries.

Correctly fitting footwear that absorb impact well and appropriate stretching exercises should be on the top of the list. You might want to get a new pair of shoes after running between 300 to 500 miles or every six months. If the pain continues, consulting a physician is your best bet.

Causes of the ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome) and its treatment

When the iliotibial band becomes inflamed, a condition call iliotibial band syndrome or ITBS occurs. This can cause pain anywhere from the hip to the lower outer part of the knee. The common causes of ITBS are quickly increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise than your capacity, running on shoulders of roads or any banked surface and by running too much on downhill surfaces.

Treatment of ITBS involves lots of rest and the appropriate amount stretching. Running should be done on flat surfaces and application of ice on the painful area after exercising will definitely help. Don’t forget to inspect your shoes for any signs of wear and tear and incorrect fit.

How to avoid pulled hamstrings

When the hamstring muscles are stretched too much or becomes torn, it causes pain somewhere below your buttocks down to the back of your knee. This is more commonly called your pulled hamstring and is typically caused by running too quickly without properly stretching or warming up.

A pulled hamstring is normally treated with RICE – stands for rest (lots of them, if you can), ice, compression and elevation. Run slowly and don’t rush to ensure the muscles are completely recovered and you do not feel any further pain or it does not feel tight.

Once you have recovered, always remember to perform your stretching exercises prior and after running to prevent further instances of pulled hamstring muscles. (Refer to Chapter 11 for instructions on how to do hamstring stretching exercises.)

What is runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee is a condition wherein the cartilage that prevents rubbing of one bone to another, particularly under the knee cap or patella, deteriorates and therefore causes pain and swelling. Pain is usually felt under and around the knee cap which may or may not be accompanied by inflammation of the knee.

Overtraining, overpronation (refer to Chapter 3), too much downhill running and weak quadriceps muscles are some of the common causes. If ever you acquire this condition, the first thing you need to do is to rest from running or other intensive activity.

Apply ice to the painful area and focus on strengthening the quadriceps muscles by weight training. Then you can do pool running, swimming or cycling before gradually returning to running exercises again.

How do shin splints happen?

Pain or tenderness at the side of the shin about halfway between the knee and ankle are known as shin splints. As you commence your run, the pain may intensify which will eventually disappear as the muscles get past the warm up stage.

Beginners are more prone to this condition compared to advanced runners because they are not used to stress caused by running. Shin splints can also be experienced if you run with worn shoes or if you run on hard surfaces like cement or concrete. If the pain is intense, you should immediately stop running.

If the pain is only mild though, you might want to reduce your running time until the pain completely disappears. About thirty minutes prior to running, you can use hot packs or products such as Ben Gay or Icy Hot to warm the leg muscles up.

When you’re done running, apply ice and choose softer surfaces to run on such as tracks or trails. Don’t forget to inspect your footwear for signs of wear and buy new ones if needed. Return to running gradually.

Achilles tendonitis and its mechanism

The inflammation of the tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel and is found at the back of the ankle is called Achilles tendonitis. Pain is usually felt near the heel area, in between the ankle and calf muscle or on the tendon itself. People with tight calf muscles are quite prone to this condition.

Tight calf muscles can cause strain to the tendon. If you suffer from this condition, refrain from running or doing any intensive exercises until you are able to perform them without any pain. Return to running gradually. Stretching and warm up exercises are always a must prior to activity. Heel raises are beneficial to strengthen calf muscles.

Plantar fasciitis and its prevention

When the tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis occurs. Typical symptoms include pain at the heel which is most intense upon stepping out of the bed in the morning or when starting to run. Training too much, wearing ill-fitting or worn out shoes, tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles are all possible causes of this condition.

Treatment is similar to Achilles tendonitis. Don’t run further if the pain is intense. Apply ice to the painful area. Check your footwear and replace if needed. Once the pain has subsided, return to running gradually. Finally, prevent recurrence by doing stretching and strengthening exercises for the calf muscles.

Good luck!


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