Getting injured stinks. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious athlete or you just started training for your first marathon, being side-lined is not only physically but mentally frustrating. As mindful runners, we can take all the proper precautions to prevent ourselves from getting hurt, but no one is immune to injury. Let’s take a look at how to avoid and recover from some common running injuries.
Otherwise known as Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), the runner’s knee is the most common running ailment among runners. It is characterized by pain behind or around the top of the kneecap when the cartilage in the kneecap is irritated. Runner’s knee is not a specific injury, it can result from uneven running surface, poor shoe selection to weak quads. Fortunately, minor to moderate cases of runner’s knee should resolve on their own given time. Try switching up the surfaces that you run on, shortening your stride and making sure you do not wear worn-out shoes to aggravate the symptoms.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue at the base of the feet is overstretched or overused, although improper footwear could be one of the reasons for the development of this condition. This happens to most runners with very high or very low arches. Unfortunately, this is the most bothersome condition due to its stubborn nature, and runners with plantar fasciitis can have heel pain for months and even years. Characteristics of this condition include a sharp painful sensation at the base of the heel to the metatarsal heads.
While orthotics may help to relieve symptoms temporarily, it is advisable to do heel and foot exercises and rest as much as possible and if the pain gets unbearable, your doctor might suggest a steroid shot or injection to the heel. If these nonsurgical treatments do not work, a foot surgery might be required. It is best to check with your doctor what treatment options are best for your condition.
Shin splints are presented as an aching pain inside the shin. In serious cases, the pain progresses to a sharp, burning sensation and may hurt during walking. The pain is usually contributed by a sudden spike in training intensity and is most commonly seen in new runners at the beginning of their training.
Fortunately, the treatment of shin splints are manageable as compared to other running injuries. Doctors usually advise resting and anti-inflammation drugs and you’ll be able to resume with your usual activities gradually. As soon as you ease back into your training, pay attention to your training routine. Try to increase training intensity gradually to prevent a relapse. Runners with high arches are advised to opt for a cushioned shoe while runners with flat feet are advised to choose a rigid shoe.
The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body that connects the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel. This tendon is responsible for the force generated when you ‘toe-off’ the ground during running. Runners, particularly those who undergo excessive speed training or uphill running and have tight weak calves are vulnerable. Although excessive pronation and poor ankle range of motion have been connected to the development Achilles Tendinitis, stressed or overuse of the tendon causes it to tighten and become irritated (tendonitis). The pain can be characterised as a stiff dullness that might go away after it gets warmed up but may get worse with faster running and uphill running.
Unfortunately, the thick tendons of the body do not heal as rapidly we would like. Physiotherapy exercises with specific stretching and strengthening exercises promote strengthening and healing of the Achilles tendon. If conservative treatments do not work for you or if the tendon is torn, your orthopaedic specialist may suggest surgery to repair the torn tendon.