With cooler temperatures and less humidity in the air, you may be inspired to lace up your running shoes and hit the road. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, it’s wise to take precautions to avoid injury, especially if you’ve been less active in the preceding months. Here are a few of the most common running injuries and helpful tips to prevent them.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful irritation of the fibrous band running from your heel to the ball of your foot. It’s caused by chronic overstretching and is more common in women, overweight people, or those who participate in endurance sports, such as running.
Tip: To prevent this condition, avoid wearing shoes that lack proper arch support. Also try to run on soft surfaces and do not increase your mileage by more than 10% each week.
Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral pain syndrome)
This most common cause of knee pain results from an imbalance between the muscles that help to guide your kneecap in its V-shaped groove at the end of your thigh bone. Repeatedly flexing and extending a misaligned kneecap leads to pain, swelling, and eventually arthritis.
Tip: There are several things that you can do to help prevent this problem. Runners knee often arises secondary to weakness in the muscles that control your hip, so strengthening your glutes and hamstrings is critical- as is stretching after a workout. Wear shoes with good arch supports and avoid running with an excessively narrow or “crossover” stride.
Shin splints are caused by repetitive overuse stress- especially running or jumping on firm surfaces. Symptoms can arise from tears in the anterior tibialis muscle or even micro-fractures of the tibia (shinbone). The pain can range from mild to severe and can last for months.
Tip: You can help prevent shin splints by avoiding overtraining and limiting running on hard or uneven surfaces. Always perform a proper warm-up before running, especially when sprinting. Your training plan must be taken into consideration, as doing “too much”, “too soon” or “too fast” can contribute to any overuse injury.
Help for your pain!
If you notice symptoms related to any of these conditions, it’s best to avoid running, or at least decrease frequency and speed to prevent further damage. Cross training activities, such as cycling or swimming, can be good alternatives while you heal. Fortunately, each of these conditions can be treated conservatively. Our providers are highly trained to help you feel better, so you can get back on the road quickly. If you or someone you know is struggling with pain, call our office to schedule an appointment today.