A Triathletes 6 Common Running Injuries And How To Treat Them

While running can be good for your health, it can also be tough on your body. You may experience minor aches and pains from time to time, but being sidelined from a running injury is the last thing any runner wants.

Even though it can be hard to decipher what is causing an injury, it is important to figure out what is going on.

More than 80 per cent of running injuries are caused by repetitive stress on certain parts of the body, which even pro runners and athletes still succumb to.

Injuries from running are not uncommon. Here are six of the most common injuries and how to deal with them.

1. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)

What is Illiotibal Band (ITB) Friction Syndrome? TreatmentsIliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment | Dynamic Physiotherapy

The IT band is a long piece of connective tissue that runs from the outer hip to the knee. It helps to keep the knee joints stable. When you run, the IT band shifts between the front and back of your knee. This can cause pain as the band becomes irritated.

ITBS is a condition that causes sharp pain on the outside of the knee while running. It can be caused by factors such as poor running form, incorrect shoe type, and sudden increases in mileage or intensity.

This syndrome is also common in other sports like pro bowling, where athletes will experience pain while bending or straightening their knees. That’s why bowlers are recommended to wear the best bowling shoes to avert any unnecessary injuries.

Causes of Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome:

  • Running on a banked surface or changes in the running surface.
  • Flat feet (overpronator).
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly).
  • Overused running shoes.
  • Weak hip abductor and hip extensor muscles.
  • Tight hip muscles (especially iliotibial or IT band muscles).
  • Incorrect shoe type.
  • Poor running form.
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running.

Treatment for Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome:

  • Modifying training schedule.
  • Strengthening hip abductors and hip extensor muscles.
  • Applying ice.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Massaging lateral (outside) knee.
  • Stretching hip muscles (IT band).
  • Replacing running shoes every 400 to 600 miles.
  • Getting fit for shoes at a speciality store for the correct shoe type.

To stretch your IT band and prevent injury, stand with the affected leg towards a wall, and cross the unaffected leg in front of the affected leg. Place your arm on the wall and drop your hips towards the wall. You should feel the stretch on the side of your hips or the side of your knee. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times.

2. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, vector illustration german Stock Vector | Adobe StockPlantar Fasciitis | Foot & Ankle Rehab Clinic | NedlandsHeel Pain Calcaneal Spur Plantar Fasciitis Foot PNG, Clipart, Free PNG Download

Overuse of this ligament can lead to tears and inflammation, causing plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is common amongst athletes and is caused by the degeneration or irritation of the fascia. The fascia is a thick ligament that connects the front of the foot to the heel and acts as a shock absorber. Overuse of the fascia can lead to tears and inflammation, causing plantar fasciitis.

People who run a lot and increase their volume too quickly are more likely to get plantar fasciitis. This is a condition where you experience pain along the underside of your foot, usually at the bottom of your heel.

Causes of plantar fasciitis:

  • Feet with a high arch (supinator, or a person who rolls his or her feet too far outward while running).
  • Flat feet (overpronator, or a person who rolls his or her feet too far inward while running)
  • Running shoes with excessive wear.
  • Incorrect shoe type (cushion versus motion control).
  • Tight calf muscles.
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly).
  • Poor running form.
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis:

  • Decrease running (cross-train with biking and/or swimming instead).
  • Apply ice for 20 minutes two to three times per day.
  • Stretch calf muscles.
  • Massage the arch of the foot.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Replace running shoes every 400 to 600 miles.
  • Get fit for shoes at a speciality store to find the correct type of running shoe for your foot mechanics, looking at cushioning, stability and motion control.
  • Use appropriate devices, such as arch supports, heel cups or customized orthotics.
  • Get a gait analysis done to correct the running form.

The best way to prevent plantar fasciitis is by stretching the plantar fascia. You can do this by grabbing your toes, pulling your foot upward, and holding it there for 15 seconds.

3. Runner’s Knee

What Is Runner's Knee? Signs, Symptoms and Rehab Guide | by Alina Kennedy | MediumBracing for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome | KintecThe most common overuse injury experienced by runners is called a patellofemoral syndrome, or a runner’s knee. This condition is characterized by pain in the front of the knee or around the kneecap that gets worse as you run.

The most common cause of “runner’s knee” is imbalances in the muscles or structures around the knee, which cause the kneecap to misalign with the thigh bone while running.

Causes of runner’s knee:

  • Weak thigh and hip muscles.
  • Flat feet (overpronator).
  • Tight hamstrings and quadriceps muscles.
  • Change in shoes or running surface.
  • Overused running shoes.
  • Incorrect shoe type.
  • Poor running form.
  • Increasing weekly mileage too quickly.
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running.

Treatment for runner’s knee:

  • Avoid painful activities.
  • Applying ice.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Stretching calf, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexors.
  • Strengthening quadriceps, hip abductors and hip extensor muscles.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Correcting foot and/or shoe issues.
  • Replacing running shoes every 400 to 600 miles.

Hip strengthening is significant for runners in avoiding runner’s knee injuries.

To strengthen your hip abductors, lie on your side with your hip and knee in a straight line. Kick your leg up towards the ceiling, keeping your leg in line with your body. To strengthen your hip extensors, lie on your stomach and squeeze your butt muscles to lift your leg off the ground.

4. Shin Splints

Shin Splints | Foot & Ankle Rehab Clinic | NedlandsShin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) | THE LAWRENCE CLINIC | Pudsey, LeedsShin Splints El Paso | Rigid Foot Arches | Flatfoot El Paso

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shin splints refer to a group of conditions that affect the shin bone. The pain associated with shin splints is typically a dull ache that radiates along the length of the shin bone. The pain usually gets worse the longer someone runs.

The condition known as shin splints often arises when a person who is new to running increases their running volume too quickly. If left untreated, shin splits can develop into stress fractures, which can sideline a person for months.

Causes of shin splints:

  • Insufficient control of foot mechanics (incorrect shoe type).
  • Change in running surface or banked surfaces.
  • Overused running shoes.
  • Flat feet (overpronator).
  • Tight calf muscles.
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly).
  • Weak hip muscles.
  • Poor running form.
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running.

Treatment for shin splints:

  • Rest.
  • Decrease mileage and cross-train with biking or swimming.
  • Apply ice.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Getting fit for shoes at speciality stores for the correct shoe type.
  • Replace running shoes every 400 to 600 miles.
  • Stretch calf muscles.
  • Strengthen hip abductors and hip extensors.
  • Modify training schedule – avoid hills.

The best way to prevent shin splints is by wearing the appropriate shoes for your foot type and training intensity. You may need prescription orthotics if your foot mechanics cannot be controlled with a shoe alone.

A running shoe needs to be able to absorb shocks well to protect the shins from stress. After about 250 miles, a running shoe will lose 30%-50% of its ability to absorb shocks. Running in wet shoes drastically reduces a shoe’s ability to absorb shocks. To make sure your shocks are being absorbed properly, runners should alternate between two pairs of shoes. After 400-600 miles, a running shoe will no longer be effective and should be replaced to help prevent injuries like shin splints.

5. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures | Shellharbour Podiatry | Your Local PodiatristsStress Fractures of the Foot - Injuries and Poisoning - Merck Manuals Consumer Version

Regular running strengthens the body, but increasing the intensity and duration of your runs can cause damage to your bones.

Your bones are constantly breaking down and reforming. If you start running too much too fast, your body will break down bones faster than it can reform them. This can lead to stress fractures or cracks in your bones.

Periods of intense or increased activity, such as training for a marathon, can lead to stress fractures. A stress fracture generally causes a sharp, localized pain that may be felt even at rest. In runners, a stress fracture often occurs in the shin, foot, thigh, hip, or pelvis. Periods of intense or increased activity, such as training for a marathon, can lead to a stress fracture.

Stress fractures are a type of injury that cause persistent pain, most commonly in the shin. However, they can also occur in the foot, hip, thigh, or pelvis. The causes and treatments for stress fractures are similar to those for shin splints. However, stress fractures are more severe and require more serious management.

If you have a stress fracture, you may need to wear a walking boot or use crutches. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. If you can’t put any weight on your foot, focus on cardiovascular activities that don’t require any weight bearing, like swimming.

To avoid stress fractures, follow these three tips: proper training, proper shoe maintenance, and avoiding running on excessively hard surfaces. If you think you might have a stress fracture, see a doctor.

6. Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendon Injection | Achilles Tendinitis Treatment | Pain Spa, Bristol, UKSubcutaneous Calcaneal Bursitis, Understanding

The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue located at the back of your heel, connecting your calf muscles to your lower legs. This tendon works to plantar flex the ankle, but it can also get worn out and injured from repetitive plantar flexion. Achilles tendinitis usually presents a dull pain in the lower leg, just above the heel. You may also notice swelling along your Achilles tendon.

There are several reasons runners may develop Achilles tendinitis, including wearing incorrect footwear, overtraining, or suddenly increasing mileage. Regardless of the cause, Achilles tendinitis must be addressed immediately to avoid further complications. Left untreated, the tendon can rupture, requiring surgery to repair the damage.

Causes of Achilles tendonitis:

  • Excessive hill running or stair climbing.
  • Tight calf muscles.
  • Flat feet (overpronator).
  • Incorrect shoe type.
  • Overused running shoes.
  • Change in shoes or running surface.
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly).
  • Poor running form.
  • Increasing weekly mileage too quickly.
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor running.

Treatment for Achilles tendonitis:

  • Modification of training schedule.
  • Stretching calf muscles.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Ice.
  • Using appropriate devices, such as heel lifts, insoles or arch supports.
  • Massage.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Avoiding hills.

To help prevent Achilles tendonitis from occurring, proper stretching and proper shoe maintenance should be used.

Preventing running overuse injuries

Between 60-70% of runners will experience an injury that will sideline them for weeks or months. The ironic part is, the shoes they wear play the biggest role in preventing injuries while running.

According to Dr Scarcella, the only way runners can protect themselves from injury is by wearing running shoes. Therefore, it is essential to pick the right pair of running shoes.

There are several other variables to consider when it comes to preventing or even treating running injuries, such as training schedule and volume, flexibility, recovery, strength and form.

Like many athletes, runners have to deal with an injury at some point. However, you can minimize your risk of injuries if you:

  • Warm up before training
  • Work on your running technique
  • Wear the right shoes/training gear
  • Include strength and flexibility exercises in your training program
  • Slowly increase your running volume
  • Take time for rest and recovery

If you experience any pain or discomfort when running, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible. This way you can address the problem before it prevents you from running.

A running injury can not only disrupt your training schedule but also your daily life. Some injuries can be treated with rest and ice while others might require surgery or bone fracture treatment. This can cause you to miss the competition you have been training hard for.

 

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