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The most common running injuries  

Embracing physical exercise is the easiest method we can use to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We however risk suffering some injuries especially if we overdo it. We hope that this article will help highlight some of the causes, treatment and the different types of injuries connected to running

Runner’s knee 

This injury originates between the knee and thigh bone. It is also known as the patellofemoral pain syndrome. 

Causes

  • Insufficient recovery time and poor workout techniques. If we are to minimize the chances of suffering from runner’s knee, we have to avoid high intensity training. This is because this type of training overworks and strains the patellofemoral. We also have to accord ourselves sufficient recovery time in order to reduce the chances of injury. 
  • Injury. When we suffer from an injury to either the knee, hip or ankle, our knee movement automatically changes. This affects the biomechanical function of the knee causing us to suffer from runner’s knee. 
  • Overweight. When we are overweight it places excessive pressure and stress on the kneecap causing us to suffer from runner’s knee. 

Treatment

There are different treatments that we are able to receive when we suffer this type of injury as detailed below. 

  • The rest, icing, compression and elevation treatment is one of the methods we can use to prevent the progression of runner’s knee. This treatment works best during it’s onset. 
  • We may also engage in physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and tissues surrounding the patellofemoral. Physical therapy also aids in supporting the muscles to move and contract in the right way during activity. 
  • We can also use a patellar brace to ensure that we can be able to maintain the appropriate biomechanical movement of the patella during activity. 
Runners Knee
Source: Depositphotos.com

Achilles Tendinopathy 

This injury involves the Achilles tendon. This band of tissue connects muscles within the calf to the back of the heel bone. When the tissue is inflamed, it results in Achilles tendinopathy. It usually causes swelling and aches on the affected area. This condition usually takes long to heal due to the limited blood flow in this area. 

Causes

  • Increased physical activity. Increasing the duration or intensity in exercises abruptly may result in Achilles tendinopathy. 
  • Training on hard surfaces. Hard minimizes the flexibility and movement of our feet. This may in turn increase pressure on the heel  and lead to irritation of the achilles tendon causing this painful condition.
  • Obesity. When we are overweight, there is added pressure on the heel which may cause the achilles tendon to be irritated resulting in Achilles tendinopathy. 

Treatment

  • The RICE technique is a great home remedy for Achilles tendinopathy. This means that we should rest, ice, compress and elevate the heel area. This helps  to reduce the stress on the achilles tendon. 
  • Use of braces and splints. There are available braces and splints which we can utilize to help alleviate pain and speedy healing of the achilles tendon. 
  • Ageing. The achilles tendon grows less flexible with age and is not able to handle excessive pressure and stress leading to Achilles tendinopathy. 

Stress Fracture 

This condition is characterized  by a tiny crack formed on bones due to repeated high impact exercises. It mostly occurs on top of the foot or heel and can only be diagnosed through a medical X-ray. 

Causes

  • Improper foot wear. The shoes we use should have a proper fit and should be well constructed. Poorly constructed workout shoes are not able to provide the necessary support to our legs during strenuous activities. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of vitamin D increase the chances of suffering from stress fractures. This is because of the critical role it plays in ensuring we have high bone density. 
  • Medical conditions. Conditions such as osteoporosis affect bone strength  and density. Bones affected usually become significantly weak and may not be able to handle strenuous activities leading to stress fractures. 

Treatment

  • Rest. Stress fractures take about 8 weeks to completely heal. We should stop engaging in any activity that causes pain. This is in order to give the fracture enough time to heal. 
  • Ice application. Rubbing ice for at least 5 minutes to the injured area also helps in alleviating pain and reducing inflammation. 
  • Use of crutches. Crutches help us to put less weight on our legs until the bone heals. 

Muscle pull 

This is a muscle strain that is caused by pushing and overworking a muscle too much causing it to overstretch and tear. We commonly feel a pop when a muscle pull occurs. Areas such as the hamstring and calf are common areas affected by this injury. 

Causes

  • A muscle pull may occur when we do not warm up our muscles before starting a work out or race. 
  • Lack of rest while placing too much stress on a muscle while running forces us to overwork resulting in a muscle strain. 
  • Insufficient recovery time may also cause us to exert too much pressure on  a muscle leading to a muscle pull. 

Treatment 

  • We should avoid any activity that involves using the strained muscle in order to alleviate pain and apply ice to reduce inflammation. It is imperative that we also apply compressions using an elastic bandage and keep the muscle affected in an elevated position. This helps to speed up healing. 
  • We also need to incorporate stretching of the affected muscle to prevent it from going stiff. This will improve blood circulation to the strained muscle and aid healing. 
  • Applying heat a few days after the injury will also hasten the healing process by improving blood circulation. 

Plantar fasciitis 

This injury is caused by small tears of the fascia. This are tissues and ligaments found at the bottom of the feet. This results in discomfort characterized by a slightly painful ache on the heel. 

Causes

  • Wearing the wrong shoe may also cause this injury because the shoes are not able to provide the necessary support or cushioning for our feet especially the heel. 
  • We may suffer from plantar fasciitis if we are overweight because a heavy body weight will cause the fascia to disintegrate and tear. 
  • Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis may also aggravate the plantar fascia resulting to this injury. 

Treatment 

  • Resting and raising the foot on a chair.
  • Every two to three hours, placing an ice pack in a towel on the sore area.
  • Wearing shoes with padded heels as well as good heel support.
  • Using heel or insole pads in the shoes.

Ankle sprain 

This is an injury caused by the twisting of the ligaments connected to our ankles in the wrong way. This movement causes them to stretch causing an injury. 

Causes

  • Working out on a rough surface can lead to an ankle sprain as it may force the the ligaments to move away from the normal position. 
  • We may also suffer from an ankle sprain when we fall. 
  • An ankle sprain may also occur when we place our feet wrongly during a workout or race causing the ligaments to stretch. 

Treatment

  • Hilotherapy. This involves using rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce pain and inflammation caused by the injury. 
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. We can also use non steroid medication to help manage pain resulting from an ankle sprain. 
  • Physical therapy. Once the swelling and ache has significantly gone down, we can begin stretching and exercising with the help of a physical therapy to help hasten the recovery process. 
  • Surgery. When the injury does not hear after a long period, we recommend surgery to help reconstruct and repair the ankle tissues  and ligaments. 
Ankle Sprain
Source: Depositphotos.com

Shin splint 

This injury occurs when we feel pain at the front of your lower leg. It is a result of swollen muscles and bone tissue around your shin. Shin splints mainly occur when we overwork the shin bone. 

Causes

  • Increase in training activity and repetitive lower leg exercises may cause  a shin splint. 
  • If our feet are flat and have very defined foot arches we are prone to suffer from shin splints. 
  • Shin splints are also caused by running on hard surfaces because they do not give room for flexibility. 

Treatment

  • We have to take a break from any strenuous activity to allow time for healing. It is recommended that we rest for about two weeks. 

Iliotibial band 

It is quite common for us to experience a sharp pain on the outside of your hip or knee. This usually means that our iliotibial band is rubbing against our hip or knee. This movement causes swelling of the affected area. 

Causes

  • Medical conditions such as knee arthritis may make us vulnerable and prone to suffering from iliotibial band syndrome. 
  • Not stretching enough before a work out may cause this injury because the band may still be too tight. 
  • Fatigue can also lead to this injury as it may be strenuous on the band. 

Treatment 

  • Surgery is recommended if medication and physical therapy do not work ,a doctor may recommend surgery to heal ITB. 
  • Physical therapy help us to stretch and advise on exercises we can do to help relieve pain and decrease tension of the band. 
  • It is important we take a break from any strenuous activity that may involve the affected leg to give enough time for healing. 
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