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Most runners are used to having something wrong when they run - some sort of niggle or pain that is just there. Often these may be nothing, or they could turn into something more. Running is a great form of exercise but can be tough on your body and, there is no shortage of injuries. Below are some of the most common running injuries, as well as some strategies to consider to help prevent injuries.
Shin Splints / Medial tibial stress syndrome
Shin splints are extremely prevalent in runners and can be a huge burden. Shin splints present as a dull or aching pain below the knee on the front or side of the leg. The most common cause of shin splints is increasing mileage too quickly, but can also be caused by other factors such as changing running surface (e.g outdoors to a treadmill) or issues with your foot biomechanics. Find out more about shin splints in our blog here.
Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is an overuse injury of the fascia (connective tissue) that runs along the outer thigh from the pelvis to the top of the tibia, crossing both the hip and knee joints. The role of the ITB is to work with its associated muscles to stabilise the leg in running and walking, during the stance phase (when the foot strikes the ground through to propulsion). It also plays a role in abduction of the thigh.
ITB syndrome is one of the most common causes of what we know as ‘runner’s knee’ and accounts for up to 22% of overuse injuries in runners.
Some of the common causes of ITB Syndrome include:
- Dramatic increases in training load
- Lack of flexibility in the hip flexors, quads, and TFL muscles
- Weakness of the hip abductor muscles
You can find out more about ITB syndrome here.
Achilles tendinopathy, often termed ‘Achilles tendonitis’ refers to pain and dysfunction relating to the Achilles tendon. It is typically an overuse injury and is most common in those in running or jumping based sports, due to the repetitive nature of the actions.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the calcaneus (heel bone) and is the largest tendon in the human body. It allows us to walk, run and jump by pulling on the heel when we flex our calves.
Some common causes of Achilles Tendinopathy include:
- Overuse or overtraining in running or jumping based activities
- Weakness in the calf muscles
- Changes in training surface e.g from grass to road to sand; outdoors to treadmill
- Non-supportive footwear or change in footwear
- Biomechanical problems of the foot
- Tight calves and/or hamstrings
- Poor lower limb coordination/motor control
You can find out more about achillies tendinopathy here.
Not increasing km’s too quickly:
Increasing your weekly running load too quickly is one of the biggest contributors to injury in running, particularly for overuse injuries and stress fractures. A nice common rule of thumb is: don't increase greater than 10% per week.
Training load management:
Managing your training load is vital in reducing your risk of injury. Proper periodisation of your program should be done by your coach or a professional for the best results and to avoid overloading.
Strength and conditioning program:
Runners often neglect strength and conditioning, and focus only on running lots of kilometres. A strength and conditioning program consisting of exercises such as squats and lunges, as well as core work will be beneficial to your performance by improving running economy and potentially reducing your risk of injury.
Warming up, cooling down and stretching:
This is so important and often not taken seriously enough. A dynamic warm up should always be done before a run, with the length depending on the distance of the run, and a cool down and stretching/foam rolling session should always be completed afterwards to aid in recovery.
Make sure you have the correct running shoes:
You should have running shoes that are suited to your foot and running type, which should be properly fitted. Our podiatrists can help you with this. Find out more about our podiatry services here.
A biomechanical analysis can help to make sure your running technique is best suited to you and help you perfect your technique to decrease your chances of injury. Book in for a biomechanical analysis with one of our podiatrists today by calling 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.