Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Physio Croydon

Few types of exercise are as beneficial for your physical and mental health as running. Unfortunately, for all its benefits, you can have too much of a good thing. Both amateur and professional runners often suffer injuries that can take them off the track (or treadmill) for weeks at a time, and particularly persistent muscle tears and strains can cause ongoing, chronic pain that affects all aspects of your life.

So, what strategies are there that can help prevent common running injuries? Here at Freedom Sports Medicine, our team of trained and experienced physios in Croydon can assist in both diagnosing injuries and implementing strategies to prevent them from happening in the first place. Whether it’s through technique correction or strength and conditioning exercises, we can help you reduce the risk of injury occurring and have you back pounding the pavement in no time.

Benefits of running

As far as types of exercise go, running is inexpensive and quite accessible. All you need is a pair of good shoes, and you’re all set! It also provides an extensive array of benefits for your physical and mental health, including:

  • Building stronger bones and improving muscular strength.
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Improved quality of sleep.
  • Improved cognitive functioning.
  • Elevated mood and reduced symptoms of depression.
  • Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol.

Injuries to watch out for

Running involves repetitive movements and can put considerable strain on your joints, particularly your hips, knees, and ankles. As such, it’s important that runners are aware of the types of injuries they need to watch out for. These include:

Patellofemoral syndrome: Also known as “runners knee”, patellofemoral syndrome is characterised by pain in the front of your knee and surrounding your kneecap. It occurs when the cartilage around the kneecap is damaged, primarily due to overuse.

Patellofemoral syndrome can affect one or both knees. It tends to get worse when engaging in high impact activities, including jumping and sprinting.

Achilles tendinitis: The achilles is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis occurs when this tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. This usually happens due to a sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise or if you have particularly tight calf muscles.

Achilles tendinitis symptoms include pain that worsens with activity and swelling.

Shin splints: Shin splints is a general term for pain that occurs anywhere along the shin bone, which travels from your ankle to your knee. There are a number of different types of shin splints, all of which are characterised by swelling, pain, and warmth in the affected area.

Shin splints are usually caused by increased exercise, poor running technique, tightness in the calf muscle, or wearing incorrect footwear when exercising.

Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common (and painful) types of foot injuries. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs between your heel and your toes. Through tension, stress, and foot mechanics, this tissue can become inflamed, causing pain when you walk.This pain tends to be worse in the morning or after prolonged activity.

Stress fracture: A stress fracture can occur anywhere throughout the body. However, they’re most common in the lower legs and feet. This is due to overuse or poor performance technique.

A stress fracture can be diagnosed through an X-ray. If you believe you have a stress fracture, it’s a good idea to speak with a physio in Croydon straight away as they can be particularly difficult to manage.

Treatment and prevention techniques

Many enthusiastic runners dismiss minor aches and pains, only to find themselves unable to get out of bed a few weeks later. Whether you’re a new running addict or an experienced marathoner, it’s important that you take any concerns to your physiotherapist.

How they treat your injury will, of course, depend on what the issue is. Some injuries may require nothing more than rest (which will be hard if you start each morning with a run!) Others may require anti-inflammatory medication, a change in routine (adding some bike riding or swimming, for example) or regular icing.

One of the biggest factors that cause running-related injuries is poor form. If we believe this is the root issue to your concern, we’ll conduct a gait analysis and work on improving your technique. Ill-fitting or improper shoes are another common issue that can be fairly easily fixed.

The team at Freedom Sports Medicine has extensive experience treating all types of running conditions. We work with our clients to first diagnose the issue and then implement a tailored plan that will have you back to doing what you love sooner. If you’re looking for a physio in Croydon or any of the surrounding eastern suburbs, contact Freedom Sports Medicine today.

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