Unlike other sports that may be prone to traumatic injuries (for example twisting your knee playing football), running injuries tend to be related to overuse. This basically means pushing your body too hard, too quickly, for too long. If the tissues do not have enough time to recover, they overly fatigue. Imbalances in your running style, or weaknesses in your legs or your feet can cause certain structures to fatigue more quickly, and hence be more prone to injury.
Examples of running injuries tht we see regularly are plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, runners knee, ITB friction syndrome, among others. They are all treatable but:
Prevention is better than cure!
The best course of action is to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place- most overuse injuries are caused by faults in footwear, training (this is a big one!), muscle strength/flexibility or biomechanics. Some can be addressed with a few simple changes, others are more complicated and may require more thorough assessment and treatment. Some of the basics in injury prevention are:
Many overuse injuries can be caused purely from problems with footwear, please see our ‘Footwear’ section for more details. Click here >>>>
Sudden changes in your training can lead to injury – examples of this being going from zero to hero – ie from couch potato to running most days a week. The body adapts best to gradual changes, so starting small and gradually build up will make you less prone to injury. Generally the guidelines are that once your total volume is at 8km per week, not to increase mileage by more than 10% total per week (known as “The 10% Rule”), and not to increase speed and volume within the same week – isn’t that alot more gradual than you thought?!!
MUSCLE STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY
Better strength in the muscles of your trunk will help to improve your posture and maintain good alignment of your legs while running. Therefore doing regular exercises to improve your core stability and muscle strength in the gym or at a pilates class will reduce your risk of injury.
WARM-UP AND COOL DOWN
Before you run, your tissues need to be warmed-up, for example doing a light jog/brisk walk, anything that gets the blood flowing. A common misconception is that people need to spend a lot of time stretching before they run- in fact static stretching is more important as part of your cool-down and recovery. Adequate time needs to be allowed for both the warm-up and cool-down- this can vary from 5-15 minutes, but make sure you feel the benefit before you stop.