I read somewhere that 80% of all runners get injured every year. Which is an astounding statistic if it’s true. Paul Drumm – Managing Director of Sports Pain – is back to give you a review of some of the more frequent running injuries
Every runner is different and we all have unique bio-mechanics. But fundamentally we all move in the same way and we are all at risk of the same generic injuries. It is important that you are familiar with these common running injuries as early detection can of course mean earlier recovery. What I want to do is give a brief overview of the most common running injuries as a lead off for your own further research.
The common sites for running injuries are the hip, thigh, knee, ankle and foot. All these injury sites are subject to a broad range of issues but in each category there are precautions that you can take to minimise or avoid risk.
So what are the big injuries?
Hip bursitis is an injury by inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint and is referred to as trochanteric bursitis, which can cause pain with hip movement. Although treatments to this injury are always effective, it has a tendency to develop into a chronic injury, coming back and forth and sometimes being very persistent. Treatment usually concentrates on reducing the inflammation – rest and ice are the easiest home treatments.
Patellofermoral Syndrome or Runner’s Knee
This injury is referred to runners as the Runner’s Knee but the correct term is patellofemoral syndrome. As the name suggests it is an injury that is associated with the patella, or kneecap. The knee though is a complex joint and some of the other common injuries that may be referred to as runner’s knee are chondromalacia, patellar tendonitis or simply generalized knee pain. Again home remedies are rest and ice.
Another very common running injury is shin splints. Like runner’s knee, shin splints are a term to describe a set of symptoms rather than a specific medical condition. The problems that usually make up “shin splints” are rooted in the muscles of the lower leg, the shin bone or the attachment of the muscle to the bone. The old reliables of ice and rest will again assist but taping can sometimes help by taking the pressure off the muscle attachments.
Ankle Sprains and Achilles Tendonitis
Ankle sprains are another common injury that a runner may experience. It is often recommended that you treat this problem faster as it will help you speed your recovery rate and avoid ankle ligament injuries. Achilles tendonitis is an injury that is painful to the tendon in the back of the ankle. If the Achilles tendonitis is ignored and not treated, it may lead to the risk of Achilles tendon rupture. Typically issues with the Achilles – like the other problems outlined above – are rooted in training (perhaps too much too soon or too hard). An ankle sprain though will often be trauma rather than use – twisting on a kerb or rough ground for example. Treatment… Can you guess? Rest and ice!
Even with this information outlined for runners, most of them ignore the facts and take things for granted and many fail to take proper steps to avoid injury or stay injury-free. Always be careful and listen to your body – if you start to feel niggles or pains then take the warning signs seriously. Training “through” an injury in the hope it will heal itself or go away usually ends with a more serious issue and longer on the sidelines. Remember the rules – RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate)
Nevertheless, even if you are attentive or preventative when running, many people feel that running injuries are bound to occur, or feel it is part and parcel of running. Therefore it is important that you take the precautions to avoid injuries – some injuries may lead to permanent disability, resulting in you abandoning the sport. There are never any guarantees but simple common sense will help minimise your injury risks. One of the best recommendations is tips is to wear proper footwear, buying the right running shoes for your foot mechanics. Go to a good running shop or try an online gait analysis to find shoes right for your foot-type and stride. Combining the right shoes, perhaps stretching out properly, getting sports massage and doing cross training will greatly help you to decrease your chances of inflicting running injuries.
If you are feeling pain or discomfort in your running it is always recommended that you check in with your local sports injury specialist and get them to give you the once over and recommend a personal course of treatment that will not only eliminate the current injury but hopefully address the underlying issue and prevent the same problem occurring in the future.
The above piece is the author’s opinion and in all matters of sports injury it is recommended that you consult with a registered professional.