Because of the nature of the sport, running injuries can be frequent and temporarily disabling. Many running injuries result from wearing improper footwear, over-training and not warming-up or cooling down properly. To avoid running injuries, athletes should pay attention to the above factors as well as preparing their bodies to meet the physical challenges of running.
Some common injuries sustained while running are:
Athletes who run and jump a lot may be susceptible to metatarsalgia, a type of foot injury that manifests itself in pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. Wearing shoes with soles that are too thin for running can lead to this foot injury. Over-pronation of the and a tight, high arch are also causes. Pain in the forefoot is most pronounced when the person tries to bear weight or push off. Rest and icing are helpful followed by physiotherapy for stretching and strengthening exercises.
This is a common, painful condition experienced by runners who exert a lot of stress on the tendon. It is characterised by pain to the back of the heel which increases with exercise and decreases when the exercise stops. There is also difficulty walking or rising up on the toes. If you continue to put pressure on the tendon it may snap, sometimes with a loud popping sound. Therefore the best treatment for Achilles tendonitis is to rest and ice the injured foot until the pain goes away. Rehabilitation may be necessary to stretch and strengthen the calf muscles.
The Iliotibial band injury
This is the thick sheath of connective tissue that runs from the hip bone (femur) down the outside of the thigh and attaches to the outside of the shin bone (tibia). It acts to extend (straighten) the leg and abduct the hip (move it sideways). As this band passes over the bony part on the outside of the knee, it causes friction which leads to pain. Iliotibial band syndrome is sometimes referred to as runner’s knee. Major symptoms are a burning sensation on the outside of the knee, or along the entire sheath and worsening pain when the foot strikes the ground. The athlete can rest and apply cold therapy to the knee to reduce pain. A rehabilitation program and minimising downhill running or eliminating it altogether can bring about positive results. Wearing an orthotic support to reduce over-pronation is often recommended.
This condition occurs at the front inside of the shin bone and results in pain at the start of exercise, fading away as the session progresses and returning when the activity ceases. Pain is usually felt when the toes or foot are bent downwards. There may also be lumps or bumps felt over the area. Treatment involves rest to allow the injury to heal. Icing and anti-inflammatory medications are also helpful. A physiotherapist will perform a gait analysis to determine if you over-pronate (sole of the foot turns outward) or oversupinate (sole turns inward). Both of these conditions cause problems for runners as the foot does not absorb shock during running. Orthotic devices are recommended in these cases.
For these and any other type of running injuries, please see us first.