Newbie or vet, the odds are the same: if you start running, it is very likely you’ll end up injuring yourself. At least half of all runners deal with at least one injury per year, and 25 percent of runners are injured at any given time.
Fortunately there are always preventative measures you can take to avoid the pain. The first one: know what type of injuries you can suffer from when you’re logging miles.
To help you stay safe and injury-free while working out, we’re now sharing four common injuries among runners, along with a few ways to prevent and stop the pain.
Experiencing a discomfort behind, below, or around the patella (or kneecap) is a symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome, the medical term for knee pain. This tender pain usually presents itself in gradual stages and gets worse while running or walking up and down stairs.
Knee pain can have a number of different causes, including repetitive force of pounding on the pavement, downhill running, strength imbalances, weakness in the hip muscles, and excessive or insufficient pronation.
To prevent it, experts’ advice is to strengthen the lower body, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and glutes. If you’re already dealing with knee pain, opt for flat or uphill terrain and softer running surfaces. To treat the injury, experts suggest knee braces, anti-inflammatory medications, and if necessary, reducing the amount of running you do.
IT Band Pain
Iliotibial Band (IT band) Friction Syndrome triggers pain near the outside of the knee, due to the inflammation of the Iliotibial band, a thick tendon that stretches from the pelvic pone down the tibia. This injury represents about 12 percent of all running-related injuries and is very common among distance runners and marathon racers.
The IT band pain can be caused by excessive increased mileage, downhill running or unidirectional track running, stiff shoes, high-arched feet, and weakness in the hips and glute muscles.
To avoid it, you should work your lower body strength and follow a running plan that gradually increases your mileage and includes diversity to your training. To decrease inflammation and reduce pain, experts recommend specific stretches as well as icing, foam rolling, and taking a break from running if the pain persists.
This injury is typically the result of rapid mileage increase, excessive amounts of interval training, hill running, improper footwear, tight calf muscles or insufficient recovery time between workouts.
You can prevent it by strengthening your calf muscles and stretching them after your workout, and wear shoes that offer more medial support.
To treat achilles tendinitis, you should back off on the types of workouts that put extra stress on the tendon, such as interval training and hill climbing. Add some rest, anti-inflammatories, stretching, icing and you’ll get back on the path to recovery in no time.
Shin splints are one of the most common injuries among novice runners and those returning after an extended layoff. The main symptom is a pain (aching, stabbing sensation) felt along the shin bone. Although this is not a serious injury, it could lead to a stress fracture, if left untreated.
Shin Splints can result from increasing workout mileage or intensity too quickly, running on hard surfaces, wearing the wrong shoe or a pair with too many miles, and tight calf muscles.
To avoid them, you can take some preventative measures, such as strengthening your lower body muscles and investing in sneakers with shock-absorbing insoles that support the arch. If you’re already looking for treatment, try icing the shins for 15-20 minutes and keeping them elevated at night to reduce swelling.
Have you already dealt with any of these injuries? How did they affect your training plans?