Obstacles to Greatness: Running Injuries

If we were to believe in utopia, all that would be involved in running would be determination, motivation, opportunity, and consistency. Aches and pains would be far removed from our bubble. Unfortunately, reality dictates that every now and then we move gingerly, favouring a toe, an ankle, a calf or a knee. Yes, injury. Injuries are practically the bane of every athlete, railroading aching bodies to the treatment table and keeping them on house arrest.

A few running injuries will be discussed here along with causes, ways to avoid setbacks, and possible treatment. Adequate rest almost always features in all suggested treatment, since most running injuries are either a direct or indirect consequence of too much stress on the affected area.

Achilles Tendinitis

The swelling of the Achilles; the connecting tissue from the lower leg to the heel, Achilles tendinitis can be caused by rapid increase in running mileage, improper footwear, strained calf muscles, or even having a naturally flat foot. To avoid Achilles tendinitis, ensure you stretch your calf muscles after work out, and wear proper running shoes. To help with overcoming every setback, anti-inflammatories, compression socks, and the R.I.C.E technique have proven to be very useful.

Plantar Fasciitis

Perhaps the most common cause of heel injuries, Plantar Fasciitis is caused by inflammation, irritation, or tearing of the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. Typical causes of Plantar Fasciitis include hard running, especially on hard surfaces, excessive pronation which puts the body weight on the inner edge of the sole, tight Achilles tendons and calves, high arches, and improper footwear. Remedies includetoe calf and towel stretches several times a day especially in the morning, putting ice over your heel, and resting your feet. You should probably also get a new pair of running shoes.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Otherwise called runner’s knee, it manifests as pain ranging from the mild to the severe originating from the back of the kneecap. Occurring so frequently in runners that it was named after them, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome can be caused by muscle imbalances and lots of downhill running. Treatment includes soft knee braces, knee-taping, anti-inflammatories, and taking some rest.

Lower Back Pain

Most running-induced lower back pains are caused by ligament strain and muscle sprain. Lower back pain usually originates from the muscles and ligaments of the lumbar spine. The most common cause of running-induced lower back pain is too much running pre warm-up. The risk of running-induced lower back pain can be minimized by engaging in thorough pre-run warm-ups, stretching your hamstrings daily to reduce stress across the low back, cross training, and wearing appropriate footwear. Possible treatment includes self-care techniques such as gentle stretching, ice packs, over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, and rest.

Hamstring strain

Of all the named running injuries, hamstring strain is one of the most likely to become chronic. With sprinters especially vulnerable to re-injury, approximately seventy percent of runners who suffer running injuries will reinjure. Fatigue greatly increases the likelihood of a hamstring injury to occur while running, and experts have counselled that brief rests be taken to reduce the possibility of pulling a hamstring. Another very effective method of avoiding hamstring injuries according to research are hamstring stretches. Possible treatments include the R.I.C.E technique, mild anti-inflammatories and in severe cases, physical therapy.

Managing running injuries aren’t as mysterious as they might initially appear, and generally involve pacing yourself, using self-care remedies and in severe cases, seeing a physician.




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