Five Common Running Injuries
“Avoid running for a while and you’ll heal” are words that runners dread hearing. However, it’s the truth! While running is a solo sport, it is high-impact and can take a toll on your body. To avoid permanent damage that could end your running career, it is vitally important that you listen to your doctor. Here are five of the most common running injuries and what you can do about them:
- Runner’s Knee. Runner’s knee occurs when the back of the kneecap becomes worn. This causes pain and a decrease in strength in the quadriceps muscles. Shoes that lack support can often lead to this problem. What can you do? Many sports medicine or podiatric doctors will prescribe a full-length sport orthotic along with strengthening exercises designed to target the quadriceps muscles.
- Stress Fractures. Stress fractures are a common overuse injury that can easily sideline a runner. They are commonly caused by overtraining, a lack of calcium or a biomechanical flaw. In runners, stress fractures commonly occur in the metatarsal bones, sacrum, femur and tibia. Pain that occurs while running and goes away with rest should not be ignored. This can lead to a complete fracture of the bone. Rest is the recommended course of treatment. With a stress fracture, runners are often able to participate in cross-training activities.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS. This condition is marked by a sharp and burning pain in the knee or hip. ITBS is a common running injury especially seen in distance runners, such as marathoners. To treat this condition, doctors will often recommend a series of stretches. Anti-inflammatory medication can help with pain and swelling.
- Shin splints. Shin splints are a very common running injury that commonly occurs on the inside of the legs. They are often the result of a biomechanical flaw in the feet, poor choices in footwear or overtraining. To prevent shin splints, your best bet is to wear a motion controlled shoe and pay close attention to your calf muscles when stretching.
- Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. In runners, this condition is commonly caused by abnormal motion of the foot and overly tight calf muscles. This condition is usually corrected by orthotics and calf muscle stretches.