Common running injuries and what to do about it
By Ea Francisco | Photo by Kyle Kranz/Unsplash
A bit of ache and pain is common when you run. However, there are good pains and bad pains. When it becomes unbearable and doesn’t feel like it’s going away, that’s probably a sign of injury. In these cases, it’s best to stop and check yourself before it turns into something serious. Keep track of these common running injuries and how to deal with it.
Also called patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), runner’s knee is felt on the underside of your patella or kneecap. You might feel this while you’re on a long run, going up the stairs or hills, or during long periods of sitting down. This happens when your kneecap goes out of alignment due to weak quadriceps and pressure from tight hamstrings. Recent studies say insufficient hip motion can also put you at risk. This can be treated by taking a few days off and reducing your mileage. For further prevention, you can do exercises that improve your hips and quads such as lateral side steps.
The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel, and too much stress here tightens and inflames it. When your calves are weak and tight, you are at risk of this injury. Excessive training, not stretching, and poorly fit shoes place added stress to the tendon, which increases the chances of injury. Once you feel pain in the tendon area, you should stop running and ice your foot. Stretch your foot by doing eccentric heel drops or standing on the balls of your feet with your legs straight.
This is the inflammation of the bottom foot that causes pain and irritation on the arch or heel. If your foot type is too high or too low, you’re more vulnerable to this because the plantar fascia is stretched out. Excessive training and shoes that don’t match your foot type can cause plantar fasciitis. Stretches and proper footwear can help prevent this from happening.
Shin splints is pain alongside the tibia or shin bone, which can be anywhere from the front of your shin to the inner side of your leg. According to Runner’s World, there are numerous causes associated with this injury such as overpronation, lack of stretching, and too much stress on one leg. But generally it is when the shin takes stress in place of weaker parts like the feet and ankles. To prevent this, do exercises that strengthen the parts that support the shin like toe curls and heel drops.
Don’t ignore signs of injury. It’s important to take a few days off when you’re experiencing any of these. And when you do get back to running, gradually increase your workout by around 10 percent to prevent these from happening again.