Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing by Katie McDonald Neitz deals a part of the book on runners injury which I find very informative to all runners of any level to ensure injury free and quick remedial actions to take if and ever a particular injury is experienced.
Here are the five most common running injuries, how to spot them, and how to get relief quickly.
The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. It may look like a series a of fat rubber bands, but, it’s made of collagen, a rigid protein that’s not very stretchy. The stress of overuse, overpronation, or overused shoes can rip tiny tears in it, causing pain and inflammation, aka plantar fasciitis.
Causes: Drastic or sudden increase in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes can overload the plantar fascia.
Symptoms: sharp stab or deep ache in the middle of the heel or along the arch. Another sign is the “morning hobble.” Taking the first step causes sudden strain on the bottom of the foot. The pain can recur after long spells of sitting. But it tends to fade during a run, once the area is warmed up.
Treatment: At the first sign of soreness, massage (roll a golf ball under your foot) and apply ice (roll a frozen bottle of water under your foot). While it’s typical to experience pain in just one foot, massage and stretch both feet. Do it first thing in the morning and three or four times during the day.
ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME
(ITB) syndrome is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. Because the most notable symptoms is typically swelling and pain on the outside of the knee, many runners mistakenly think they have a knee injury, but, it actually involves the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin.
Causes: ITB syndrome can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inward repeatedly, such as wearing worn-out shoes, running downhill or on banked surfaces, running too many track workouts in the same direction, or simply running too many miles. ITB afflicts seasoned as much as beginners, also, it is much more common in women. It could be the way some women’s hips tilt, which can cause their knee to turn in.
Symptoms: The best way to tell if you have ITB syndrome is to bend your knee at a 45-degree angle. If you have an ITB problem, you’ll feel pain on the outside of the knee.
Treatment: Rest Immediately. That means fewer miles or no running at all. Side stretches will also help, as will ice or heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation with topical cortisone.
Known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) occurs when a mistracking kneecap (patella) irritates the femoral groove in which it rest on the thighbone (femur)
Causes: Pinpointing a single cause is difficult. It could be a biomechanical problem – the patella may be larger on the outside than it is on the inside, sit too high in the femoral groove, or dislocate easily. There are also muscular causes. Tight hamstrings and calf muscles put pressure on the knee, and weal quadriceps can cause the patella to track out of alignment.
Symptoms: Tenderness behind or around the patella, usually toward its center. You may feel pain toward the back of the knee, a sense of cracking, or that the knee’s giving out. It strikes mostly younger, recreational runners and twice as many women as men.
Treatment: At the first sign of pain, cut back your mileage. The sooner you lessen the knee’s workload, the faster healing begins. Avoid knee bending activities, canted surfaces, and downward stairs and stride hills.
The nature of shin splints most often can be captured in just four words: “too much too soon”. This is usually a problem for either new runners or runners starting over. “Shin Splints” is the catch-all term for lower-leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or inside of the leg (medial shin splints).
Causes: Often plague beginning runners who do nit built their mileage gradually enough or seasoned runners who abruptly change their workout regimens, suddenly adding too many mileage. Other causes could be overpronation, inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or hip from running on cambered roads.
Symptoms: You’ll feel tenderness, soreness, or pain along your lower leg. Initially the pain might be present only while you’re exercising. Eventually, however, it can be continuous. The most common site for shin splints is the medial area. Anterior shin splints usually result from an inbalance muscles in the calf and the front leg and often afflict beginners who either have not yet adjusted to the stress of running or are not stretching enough.
Treatment: When shin splits strikes, you should stop running completely. Ice your shin to reduce inflammation. If you continue running, wrap your leg before you go out. Overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until the pain goes away. Stretch your calves and Achilles regularly as a preventive measure.
The Achilles is the larger tendon connecting the two major calf muscles – the gastrocnemius and soleus – to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard. This causes it become inflamed (that’s tendinitis) and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.
Cause: Tight or fatigue calf muscles transfer too much of the burden of running to the Achilles. This can be brought on by not stretching the calves properly, increasing mileage too quickly, or simply overtraining.
Symptoms: Dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel. Limited angle flexibility; redness or heat over the painful area; a nodule that can be felt on the tendon; and a cracking sound when ankle moves signal Achilles tendinitis.
Treatment: Stop running, take an anti-inflammatory medication, and ice the area for 15-20 minutes several times a day until inflammation subsides. Self-massage may also help. Don’t start running again until you can do “toe raises” without pain