Running has become the most popular recreational activity for millions of Canadians and there’s no stopping us now. Perhaps you’re among the many who continue to lace up those sneakers to get a full body workout while enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you’re an avid runner or just starting out, there are some common running injuries that you should be aware of.
The numerous benefits to running make it an easy choice if you’re looking for a simple and effective workout. This cardiovascular activity reduces your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and improves mental health. Consistent runners also experience healthy weight loss and use this exercise to maintain their weight.
However, running can be hard on your body so feeling slightly sore occasionally is normal. This is often the case for beginners or avid runners periodically increasing their speed and/or distance. Understanding the difference between general soreness and an actual injury can affect your overall wellness.
Here are 7 common running injuries to look out for:
Pain and inflammation on the bottom of the foot, specifically under the heel, arch and sometimes forefoot. It is common to feel a sharp pain in the morning that decreases after a few minutes of walking and a gradual escalation of the pain during the course of the day.
Runner’s Knee - A dull pain around the front of the knee that can be caused by either a structural defect or walking/running awkwardly i.e., feet rolling in while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward. In addition to feeling a dull pain, runners may experience rubbing, grinding or hear a clicking sound at the kneecap.
Iliotibial band (ITB) Syndrome - Repetitive bending of the knee which affects the IT band causing tension irritation, or inflamation. This tightness causes friction on the outside of the knee when bending which ultimately results in ongoing pain.
Achilles Tendonitis - Pain, inflammation, tightness, or swelling of the Achilles Tendon (back of the ankle) often caused by overuse of the calf muscle, over-pronation or changes in daily activities.
Shin Splints - Tenderness or pain around the large bone in the lower leg typically after repetitive or robust activities. This injury can cause discomfort on the front or outside of the shins in addition to the inside of the lower leg above the ankle.
Stress Fractures - Tiny cracks in a bone often caused by overuse or ongoing force. For runners, stress fractures are common in the feet, but it can also be developed by normal ‘wear-and-tear’ or structural conditions such as osteoporosis.
Hamstring Strain - The group of muscles that make up the hamstring are over extended resulting in mild to severe pain. This is common for runners and those who do not stretch effectively prior to engaging in repetitive physical activities.
To truly reap the benefits of running, there are simple things you can do now that will also help you to avoid injuries and prolonged discomfort.