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Ways to Avoid the Most Prevalent Running Injuries

July 29, 2016

Make no mistake about it, running is not as straightforward as it seems.

If truth be told, people who take up running can become susceptible to injuries compared to their non-running counterparts.

In fact, some statistics show that an estimated 80 percent of runners often experience injuries at one point or another.

Most injuries can be attributed to overuse and drastic training changes.
Below are some of the most prevalent injuries that plague runners and some ways to effectively avoid and treat them.

Patellar Tendinitis
Otherwise known as “jumper’s knee,” this condition is especially common among distance runners. The condition occurs when there is overuse of the patellar tendon that results to tiny tears or ruptures.

Over-training, overpronation, and too many hill runs are considered some of the culprits.

To help ensure patellar tendinitis is avoided, strengthening the quads and the hamstrings is recommended (whether at home or at the gym). Icing the knee can also help minimize the pain.

In some cases, orthopaedic specialists will also recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the tendon and alleviate the pain.

Plantar Fasciitis
This condition occurs when there is irritation, tearing, or inflammation of the plantar fascia (the tissue situated on the bottom of the foot).

Wearing unsupportive footwear and excessive running are some of the known culprits.  Plantar fasciitis is characterized by stabbing pain in the foot’s arch and extreme stiffness of the affected area.

To ease the pain, wearing footwear with extra cushion, stretching the heels, and giving the affected area ample rest can help.

However, if the problem persists, orthopaedic specialists will likely recommend wearing a night splint, wearing custom-made orthotics, or getting a steroid shot to speed up the recovery.

Achilles Tendinitis
The swelling of the Achilles tendon (the band of tissues that connects the heel to the lower leg muscles) can be attributed to numerous factors—improper footwear, tight calf muscles, drastic mileage increase, etc.
To ensure Achilles tendinitis is kept at bay, make sure to always do post-workout calf muscle stretches apart from wearing supportive footwear. In addition, avoid hill climbing when possible as it will surely put stress and strain on the tendons.

Stretching, taking anti-inflammatories, and making use of the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) technique are proven ways to get you on the road to recovery.

Shin Splints
If you are one of the few runners who has not experienced that stabbing and aching sensation in the shins, then consider yourself lucky.
Deemed one of the most nagging running injuries, shint splints occur when the tendons and muscles that covers the shinbone becomes inflamed.

To stop the stabbing pain, icing the affected area for at least 15 to 20 minutes has been proven effective. To reduce swelling, keeping the affected leg elevated at night is recommended.

While there’s no foolproof way to avoid shin splints, wearing footwear that provide the right fit, running on softer grounds, and using shock-absorbing insoles that help provide arch support are considered helpful when it comes to avoiding shin splints.

Runner’s Knee
A tender pain behind or around the kneecap is often an indicator of patellofemoral pain syndrome, a fancy name for runner’s knee.

Downhill running, muscle imbalances, weak hips, and the repetitive force of pounding on the pavement has been considered some of the likely causes.

To treat the condition, using a knee brace or taping the knee, reducing the mileage, and taking anti-inflammatory medications have been known to help.

Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains occurs when the ankle rolls outward or inward, stretching the ligament in the process. Potholes, curbs, and unfortunate landings are considered few of the likely culprits.

Doing balance exercises (i.e. single-legged squats) are often recommended to help strengthen the ankle muscles. Solid rest is also recommended, however the duration will often depend on the severity of the sprain.

To play safe, it would be best to visit an orthopaedic specialist so a more specific game plan will be recommended.

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