As any of you runners out there know, injuries are very easy to pick up and can easily put you back weeks, if not months, in your training.
Here’s a lowdown of the most common injuries, how to prevent them and how to treat them if you do fall victim.
ITB Syndrome or ‘runners knee’
Caused by poor mechanics, incorrect technique or a muscle imbalance, ITBS usually presents itself through pain at the outside of the knee.
It’s caused by a tightening of the iliotibial band, a sheath which runs down the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee.
It can be prevented by strengthening the quadriceps, particularly the medial muscles, adopting good technique and stretching. A decent pair of running shoes provided by a running specialist can also work wonders.
It can be treated through rest, sports massage, stretching and strengthening. One of my previous posts explores this condition in greater detail.
Periostitis and anterior compartment syndrome or ‘shin splints’
Periostitis is inflammation of the sheath surrounding the bone and causes pain at the inside of the lower leg.
It is most commonly caused by poor biomechanics, incorrect footwear or a sudden increase in training.
Prevent it by wearing the correct running shoes for your feet and gait, avoiding increasing your distance by more than 10% each week and running on tarmac or grass rather than hard pavements.
If you do suffer, rest from running, use ice in the early stages and use heat in the later stages. Anti-inflammatory medication may help and taping can help relieve the pressure on the muscle attachments.
If the pain is more towards the front or outside of the lower leg, it’s more likely to be compartment syndrome, which occurs when the muscles, blood vessels And nerves become too big for the compartment which contains them and causes pain due to the pressure created.
It is commonly caused by overtraining, biomechanics, poor footwear or excessive uphill running. Treat it through rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication in the early stages. Gait analysis can confirm whether you are wearing the correct trainers (all good running shops can do this) and orthotics can be prescribed to ease the pain.
The Achillies tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bones. It’s commonly caused by overtraining, incorrect trainers, not enough recovery in between runs, overpronation (when the foot rolls in) and weak or tight calf muscles.
Prevent it by wearing the right footwear, not increasing your distance by more than 10% each week, good stretching and, if you have tight calf muscles, regular sports massage.
Treatment includes rest and ice in the early stages, sports massage, and strengthening and stretching techniques.
The recurring theme with all of the above is the importance of the right footwear to correct any biomechanical issues. All good rung shops offer free gait analysis and can advise you of any issues you have and provide shoes to suit your running type. If you do experience an injury I cannot express enough the importance of rest. Under no circumstances should you try to run though the pain, trust me, you’ll only make it worse.