Running comes with a long list of potential injuries especially in the legs

Photo by Matthew LeJune/Unsplash

Injuries are unavoidable especially when it comes to running, because it’s a high-impact sport. If you’re a new runner, there’s a big chance for injuries to set in since your body isn’t used to the repetitive motion. John M. Vasudevan, M.D., an expert in clinical physical medicine and rehabilitation told Self that running comes with a long list of potential injuries particularly in your lower limbs. But the good news is, there are multiple ways to treat and avoid them. Here’s what every runner must know when dealing with some of these injuries.

 

Runner’s knee

Runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome is when runners experience pain underneath their kneecap. This usually happens when running uphill, walking down the stairs or when moving from a sitting position to a walking position. That’s because of the cartilage and fluid under your kneecap and thigh bone caused by a structural defect.

How to treat it: As soon as you feel the pain in your knee, stop running. Runners have the tendency to run through the pain which is not ideal since this can progress to a more severe injury. Runner’s knee gets better on its own with time and treatments. To limit inflammation and recover faster, ice your knee consistently, do stretching exercises for your quads, wrap your knee (using elastic bandage and patellar straps), elevate your leg on a pillow when you lie down or take painkillers like ibuprofen or naproxen when needed. 

 

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon injury is one of if not the deadliest injuries in any sport. Anything that involves the Achilles tendon should not be taken lightly. Pain at the Achilles tendon  (the tendon below the calf) is caused by any weakness or tightness in the calves, glutes or hamstrings. When your calf muscles or glutes fail you, chances are your tendons will be highly affected.

 

How to treat it: If the Achilles injury is not too severe, it’s best to rest from high-impact activity until the pain resolves. Another option is to ice the affected area consistently and perform stretches like heel drops since this is what’s going to strengthen your calf muscles. Meanwhile, Achilles tear normally requires surgery so it’s best to seek medical attention once this happens to you. 

 

Stress fractures

Stress fracture happens when your bones don’t repair themselves after experiencing repetitive stress during running.  It’s common for those who change their running routine, add more miles, conquer a different terrain or increase the intensity of their training. For runners, this often affects the foot. 

How to treat it: When you experience a stress fracture, you’ll most likely be unable to run for three to six weeks (depending on severity). While you’re sidelined due to this injury, you have to strengthen your glutes and core to help your biomechanics when running. Once you’ve fully recovered, make sure that you gradually get back to your routine, eat the right food and fuel your activity properly. 

 

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot injury due to the inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue. It happens when the fibrous tissue runs from the heel to the arch of the foot and inserts all the way to the balls of the foot. 

How to treat it: To avoid worsening your injury, avoid running. Make sure to stretch and roll consistently with a stiff ball and utilize good arch support (an orthotic will do) to take the stress off. Focus on strengthening your hips and core. 

 

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) happens when a long band of tissue outside the hip of your knee goes onto to the outer part of the knee. The ITB goes from the front of the knee to the back of the knee, which causes severe irritation and pain. 

How to treat it: Like treating the Achilles tendon and plantar fasciitis, you must limit your running mileage intensity. Don’t stress your knee by opting to run on softer surfaces and avoid downhill runs. It’s also important to remember that pain medication, stretching (clamshell exercise and foam rolling the outer thigh muscles) should be done consistently to treat ITBS.