Running is an enjoyable, self-reflective and healthy sport, however the movements involved are very repetitive causing them to have a toll on the health of your joints and muscles. If you take your running seriously and train regularly then it is very important that you look after and maintain your body as best possible.
Common injuries can include:
Lower back injuries
Lower back injuries are more common in people with a history of lower back problems. The most common lower back injuries include disc herniation and muscle strains. These can be from bending down and stretching, constant impact of pounding the pavement or awkward movements while running cross country.
These can include injuries in the calves, hamstrings, quads, hips and groin strains. These can largely be avoided by warming up before with a gentle jog and cooling down and stretching afterwards.
Due to the constant impact from running and uneven ground when running cross country, this can put the ankles under pressure causing muscle strain and ligament sprains.
Which is also known as shin splints. This can be caused by the repetitive motion during running and can cause damage to the muscles attaching to the front of your tibia (lower leg), causing pain and localised swelling. Runners are often aware of a dull pain in the shin but carry on running. However, this can cause increasing damage to the area, which can lead to a sudden sharp pain that stops you running altogether.
The repetitive and constant impact force from running can cause hip pain. This is usually in older people or those who are over weight. Poor technique can also play a factor.
Also known as runners knee, knee pain is the most common complaint from runners and is caused by swelling under the knee cap. During your run, you may develop pain at the front of the knee, around the knee or behind the kneecap. The pain may be dull or it could be sharp and severe.
This is most commonly caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis. This is a painful soft tissue swelling that comes on with over-use, poor running technique or ill fitting shoes. Heel pain is often sharp and occurs when you put weight on the heel. It can feel like someone is sticking something sharp in your heel, or as if you’re walking on sharp stones.
Your achilles is the tough rubbery cord at the base of your calf muscle. This can often become inflamed from over-use. You may have pain and swelling at the back of the ankle or heel. The pain may be minor but continuous, or it could be sudden and sharp. It may be worse first thing in the morning.
The main causes of running related injuries are:
- Poor technique
- Weak muscles
- Spinal misalignments
- Not warming up properly
- Inadequate equipment (using shoes which don’t fit or don’t offer enough support)
- Previous injuries
- Trauma – from falls, bumps and slips
Symptoms of running injuries include:
- Back pain
- Joint Pain
- Reduced range of motion
- Leg pain
- Muscle spasms
How to avoid these injuries:
- A good fitness regime to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall fitness level.
- An efficient warm-up and stretching routine to prepare you muscles before running any speed or distance, a gentle jog can often help. This will lower the chance of straining your muscles.
- Get some coaching or personal training! Even if you are an experienced runner, it can be easy to fall into bad habits. A trainer or coach will pick up any flaws in your technique and recommend ways in which you can improve your run.
- Chiropractic care to maintain your spinal health.
Many running injuries respond very well to Chiropractic adjustments which aim to encourage efficient joint motion, increase flexibility, reduce muscle tightness and improve alignment.