THE MOST COMMON RUNNING INJURIES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Even the most experienced runners can be halted by a running injury. If you find yourself in pain, check out the tips below to prevent, treat, and recover from the most common running injuries. We teamed up with Pure Sports strength and conditioning coach James Phillips to explain how you canreduce your risk of injury and optimise your performance, whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon.
What are the Early Signs of Running Injuries?
A niggle might be a feeling around a joint or in your muscles that makes you wince and slow down but not stop. It could feel like a tightness or a pulling, making you aware of every step. Running through a niggle is usually fine but getting it checked out in the early stages is often the easiest way to prevent a more serious running injury. Make sure you’re stretching, foam rolling, and doing strength exercises to help keep these at bay.
ILLNESS AND FATIGUE
Feeling unwell or fatigued gives you a good indication of how your body is coping with the demands of your training. Prolonged training when fatigued or unwell can cause loss of form which may aggravate any niggles.
Keep a training diary or mark off your training plan to ensure you monitor and control your mileage.
The Common Running Injuries:
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Calf pain
- Shin splints
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Running blisters
- Ankle pain/ ankle strain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- IT Band Syndrome
How to Immediately Treat Common Injuries:
A quick response to a running injury can make for a speedy recovery so if you start to feel pain stop running and if you can walk. If the pain goes away, you may be able to continue running but it’s best not to risk it.
Once home, start RICE immediately:
- Rest - Even if it means taking a few days or weeks or running it’s important to rest until you can run pain free. Don’t overstress your injury.
- Ice - Apply ice to your injury to reduce any swelling.
- Compression - Compressing the injury with a tubigrip or similar will help reduce swelling, supporting your injury to speed up recovery.
- Elevation - Raising your injury to rest higher than your heart will limit blood build-up, reducing stiffness and pain in the muscles or joints.
Most injuries are minor and heal fast, especially when you’re new to running. If the pain persists, seek medical attention before continuing your training.
How to Prevent Common Running Injuries
Prevention is always better than a cure; follow these steps below to help reduce your risk of injury and keep you on top of your game:
CORRECTLY FITTING TRAINERS
Poorly fitting trainers are one of the most common causes on running injuries, especially in beginner runners.
Make sure you’re wearing the correct running shoes for your running style by getting your free video gait analysis at any of our Runners Need stores. Our expert fitters use video technology to analyse how your feet respond to every step to assess how much you pronate and where your foot strikes the ground to recommend the best shoe for you.
Insoles are often seen as a cure to an injury, but they can also help prevent injuries too. Runners Need have a range of insoles designed to complement the footwear range, regardless of model.
Insoles help match the contours of your foot with the flat midsole of trainers. This helps enhance how the foot functions in the shoe and has a positive impact on the rest of the body.
Plan your training sensibly; increasing your mileage too quickly can overload muscles and tissues which may not be ready yet. Don't up your mileage by more than 10% each week.
Make sure you listen to your body. Stress accumulates in your body, so be aware of how you’re feeling as a whole. If you’re feeling good, push yourself; if not, take a lighter training session or rest.
Foam rolling and stretching big muscle groups like your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves relaxes and relieve tension reducing your risk of injury.
After a run you should aim to re-hydrate within the first 10-15 minutes. Even if you don’t feel particularly hot and sweaty you still need to replace lost fluids. Once you’ve started hydrating you can begin to think about your post-run stretching routine and eating a snack. Eating the right combination of arbohydrates and protein immediately after a run gives your body the fuel it needs to start the repair process to ensure a speedy recovery.
Implement strength training into your running routine. Not only will it improve tissue and muscle tolerance but working these muscles will increase your endurance and improve your performance by reducing the energy required for each running stride.
Try one-legged lower body exercises like split squats, Bulgarian squats and step-ups to help improve strength in the legs and control in the hips.
Improve your core strength and pelvic control with planks, dead bugs, and rollouts.
All bridging exercises such as glute bridges, hip thrusts, bench bridges, and hamstring pull-ins help enhance the strength of overlooked but important posterior chain muscles, like glutes and hamstrings. Strengthening these essential muscles will help power your run.
An active recovery (moving rather than sitting) is a great way to maintain your fitness while giving your running muscles a break.
Try yoga and Pilates to boost your core strength and flexibility, aiding pelvic control and restoring tissue balance.
Swimming, cycling, and rowing also help take the pressure off your running joints while keeping them active.
Don’t forget, if you start to feel pain, stop running and seek medical attention before continuing your training.
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