Common Running Injuries
36 million people run every year - 40% to 50% experience at least one injury.
Running injuries causes & symptoms
- Piriformis syndrome: 1) Cause: Tightening of piriformis muscle; 2) Symptoms: Pain radiating down back of leg.
- Groin pull: 1) Cause: Overextension of inner thigh muscles; 2) Symptoms: Similar to hernia.
- Hamstring pain: 1) Cause: Improper or no warm-up; 2) Symptoms: Sudden, sharp pain in back of thigh.
- Calf muscle pull: 1) Cause: Calf muscle tears away from Achilles tendon; 2) Symptoms: May hear a "pop" when it happens.
- Achilles tendonitis: 1) Cause: Chronic overuse; 2) Symptoms: Pain along back of ankle.
- Spinal compression: 1) Cause: Force of running compresses vertebrae; 2) Symptoms: Temporary height loss, can become permanent.
- Iliotibial band syndrome: 1) Cause: Friction; 2) Symptoms: Pain in hip or knee.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (Runner's Knee): 1) Cause: Exact cause unknown; 2) Symptoms: Pain under and around knee cap.
- Shin splints: 1) Cause: Lack of conditioning; 2) Symptoms: Pain along the shin.
- Plantar fasciitis: 1) Cause: Inflammation of ligament along bottom of foot; 2) Symptoms: pain on bottom of heel.
10 ways to avoid running injuries
- #1 Warm up with short walk before stretching.
- #2 Stretch before and after running, especially hamstrings.
- #3 Finish run with short walk.
- #4 Don't run every day.
- #5 Run on level surfaces.
- #6 Shorten your stride.
- #7 Do strengthening exercises on non-running days.
- #8 Wear the right shoes.
- #9 Get enough nutrients in diet or from supplements.
- #10 Stay hydrated.
When to see a doctor
- Severe pain, swelling or numbness at injury site.
- Unable to put weight on injured area.
- Joint abnormality or instability.
How to treat minor running injuries at home
- RICE method relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and speeds healing: 1) Treat injuries immediately; 2) continue for at least 48 hours.
- Rest: Cut back on daily activities, use cane or crutches if necessary.
- Ice: Apply ice pack to injury for 20 minutes, at least 4 times a day.
- Compression: Use elastic wraps, air casts, etc., to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Elevate injured area above heart level to decrease swelling.
Exercise while recovering from running injuries
- Once injury has been treated, and no longer has to be iced or elevated, you can exercise while you recover.
- Use stability ball for stretches, crunches.
- Wrist weights tone arms.
- Resistance tubes tone back, shoulders, arms, thighs.
- Walk on treadmill at an incline.
- Switch from treadmill to elliptical machine.
Produced for smoothfitness.com | Sources: American College of Sports Medicine; North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy; About.com Sports Medicine; National Center for Biotechnology Information; Runner's World;
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma; MedlinePlus; PubMed.gov; Smooth Fitness.