Over the last few months many of us have been putting on our joggers and going for a run. Health benefits associated with running include improvements in bone and muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, mood and weight maintenance.
Unfortunately, many novice runners or those returning to running after a break experience injury, in novice runners more than 25% of this group will stop running following an injury. Three common running problems to look out for are:
- Knee pain: such as patellofemoral pain (pain around the front of the kneecap) or Iliotibial Band Syndrome (pain at the side of the knee)
- Tendon overuse injuries: pain where muscle attaches to bone, e.g. the back of the heel or side of the hip
- Plantar fascia pain: Pain under the heel and foot
Much of the time these problems can be associated with increasing load too quickly, poor running technique and pre-existing weakness.
So here’s five tips to reduce your risk of running injuries:
- Start small and gradually increase your running distance. One of the greatest risk factors for running injuries is increasing your running distance too quickly and not having time to adapt.
- Adjust to new terrain or other training changes slowly. Switching running surfaces e.g. from grass to pavement, must be done slowly to allow the body to get used to it. Similarly, adding hill repeats or sprint sessions requires time for the body to adjust.
- Buy a good pair of running shoes. Running in old or poor fitting shoes can place excessive load on certain structures, increasing the risk of injury.
- Complete a strengthening program. Resistance training has been shown to significantly improve tendon energy storage, muscle strength and bone health. This is important to improve the body’s ability to adapt to running.
- If you are in pain, stop running and see a physiotherapist! The old saying “no gain without pain” does not apply to running. Pushing through pain can cause a mild injury to progress into something more serious.
With that said, running is a great sport with many benefits as mentioned above. If you have any questions, or experiencing any pain feel free to give our practice a call or book into see one of our physiotherapists. Not only can we assess and treat your injury, but we can help design a training program to reduce your risk of developing an injury, and keep you outside running for longer!
- Willy, D., 2020. Restoring Load Capacity in The Injured Runner.
- Drew, M. and Finch, C., 2016. The Relationship Between Training Load and Injury, Illness and Soreness: A Systematic and Literature Review. Sports Medicine, 46(6), pp.861-883.