Running is a common form of physical exercise, recreation, sports activity for adults and children. Physical exercises help build strong bones, prevent joint pain and maintain good health. However, injuries are quite common for even the most experienced runners. Running injuries usually happen when you push yourself too hard. The type, extent and severity of movement also play a prominent role. It is estimated that approximately 50 to 75 percent of running injuries are overuse injuries, meaning that they happen over time through continuous repetitive movement rather than due to a single traumatic event.
Often, overuse injuries occur when a person begins or intensifies a running routine without adequate stretching and muscle conditioning. Alternatively, a seasoned runner may acquire an overuse injury over several months or even years of training. Recognizing these injuries when they first appear can help prevent them from getting worse in the long run. Leading multi-specialty healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer effective pain management treatment for sports injuries that help reduce pain and restore the injured area to normal function. Here are the five common types of running injuries.
What Are the Signs of a Running Injury?
Initial signs and symptoms that you may be injured or need to stop your habit of running include –
- Pain or discomfort while running
- Pain at rest
- Inability to sleep
- Easily experiencing shortness of breath (exercise asthma)
- Dizziness or lightheaded feeling any time
- Headaches during or after running
- Joint stiffness
Five Common Running Injuries
Generally, for beginner runners, their body wouldn’t be used to the repetitive motion and people in most cases are likely to end up with some kind of aches and pains. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are injured, as the pain may get better or fade away during the process. The body may sometimes take even a few months to adapt to the new physical stress that it is exposed to.
However, if the pain persists and gets worse, it may be the sign of an actual injury. The best option would be to consult a pain management physician who would be able to figure out the exact causes of the pain and injury. At a Brooklyn pain management center, a team of specialists comprising pain management physicians, physical therapists, orthopedic specialists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons and occupational therapists offer a combination of treatment methods that help reduce pain and improve mobility. The five most common running injuries are –
- Achilles Tendinitis (AT) – Regarded as a common sports injury, Achilles tendinitis causes pain and swelling along the back of the leg near the heel, especially when walking, running, rising up on toes, and stretching the calf muscles. Any weakness or tightness in the calves, glutes, or hamstrings can impact the Achilles tendon. Physical therapy exercises like strengthening and stretching helps to reduce the pain and other associated symptoms.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome – The most common running injury, (especially for new runners), patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to dull pain at the front of your knee, around your kneecap (patella). The pain can grow worse during running, walking up or down stairs, sitting with a bent knee for long periods of time and kneeling or squatting. Commonly known as Runner’s knee, this condition can occur due to muscle imbalances and weaknesses and injuries. Fixing this problem begins with simple measures like –
- Rest your knee as much as possible.
- Modify or reduce activities that increase the pain (such as climbing stairs, kneeling or squatting)
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Therapies include – rehabilitation exercises, ice/heat treatment and wearing knee braces or arch supports to improve pain.
- Plantar Fasciitis – One of the most common causes of heel pain, this condition causes inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia). Stabbing pain at the bottom of the heel (that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning) is one of the most common symptoms of this condition.
- Shin Splints – The term shin splints refers to pain along the shin bone (tibia) – the large bone in front of the lower leg. The condition which is common among runners, dancers and military recruits, occurs when the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed. It arises due to sudden change in training routines, training volume and intensity. The increased activity overworks the muscles, tendons and bone tissue. Prominent symptoms include – tenderness, soreness or pain towards the inner side of the shin bone and mild swelling in the lower leg. Treatment for this condition includes simple self-care measures like – rest, applying ice packs and taking over-the-counter pain medications.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome – IT band syndrome is a common cause of pain on the outside of the knee (caused by friction as the tendon rubs over the bone). Symptoms of ITB syndrome consist of pain on the outside of the knee, which may be felt while bending and straightening the knee. Treatment for this condition focuses on reducing the pain and inflammation. Taking adequate rest is important to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. In addition, applying ice can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes every hour until the initial pain has subsided. Later, ice can be applied 2-3 times a day after exercise.
Learning about the potential risks and knowing how to prevent or avoid them is one of the basic strategies to prevent running injuries. Always stay hydrated and choose proper workouts that best suit your muscles. Physical therapy and strengthening exercises in most cases can help athletes prevent reinjury.