7 Common Running Injuries and How to Manage Your Recovery

November 19, 2018

Whether you’re at the start of your running career or racing through marathon after marathon, there are (unfortunately) many running injuries that could put you out of action. There’s no stopping some of the common aches and pains – sometimes it’s just a sign that you’ve been working hard! – but some injuries are more serious. We’ve put together a list the most common running injuries and the best ways to help you get those running shoes back on.

  1. Runner’s Knee

Probably the most common running injury out there: runner’s knee is an umbrella term used to describe several different pains in the knee region. Such pains can be identified as anterior knee pain, chondromalacia patella, and patellofemoral malalignment.

These injuries are caused by repetitive stress on the knee joint, which is why athletes of many disciplines experience it at some point, not just runners. It can also be a problem in walkers, cyclists, and football players – and in any sport that uses constant movement of the knee.

You’ll know if you’re suffering from runner’s knee if you feel a dull, aching pain around or behind your kneecap. The injury is also known to cause swelling and popping in the knee. The best way to treat runner’s knee is to follow RICE:

  • Rest: Avoid exercising or running and give your knee a rest
  • Ice: Apply ice to your knee to reduce pain and swelling
  • Compression: Wrap your knee with bandages to restrict the swelling
  • Elevation: Place a cushion under your knee when sitting or lying

If the pain persists, then your doctor or GP will assist in you with further actions.

 

  1. Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries are usually a result of straining or tearing the tendons at the back of the thigh. There are three variations of severity of hamstring injuries: a mild muscle strain (grade one), a partial muscle tear (grade two), and a complete muscle tear (grade three).

Hamstring injuries occur when the tendons or muscles are overstretched. This can happen in sudden bursts of movement such as sprinting and jumping. Hamstring issues are usually a recurring injury among athletes, as your hamstrings are more likely to tear again if they’ve been damanged happened before.

The best way to avoid hamstring issues is to ensure you warm up and stretch properly before exercising. If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a hamstring injury, then it’s important you follow the right recovery plan. Avoid sports for at least 3 weeks (sometimes longer depending on the severity of the tear), follow the RICE procedure outlined above, and slowly ease back into exercising with gentle activities and stretches.

 

  1. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are tiny cracks found in the bones, commonly in the lower leg or foot. These cracks occur from repetitive force on bones that aren’t strong enough to withstand the force. These types of fractures are commonly seen in runners due to the repetitive pressure and force of running.

Over 50% of stress fractures appear in the lower leg. The most common stress fractures are found in the following:

  • Foot
  • Mid-foot
  • Shin
  • Hip
  • Lower back

It usually takes 6-8 weeks for a stress fracture to heal, which is why the best advice is to rest. If you find yourself constantly suffering from stress fractures, then visiting a sports physician or a physiotherapist will help get you back to full fitness and make sure your bones are healthy. In the meantime, using supports and braces to give you that extra comfort and padding is a good start to your road to recovery.

 

  1. Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs from overusing the achilles tendon, which then pulls or tears causing pain. This type of injury is usually caused by a sudden change in intensity of running. The band of muscle tissue that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone weakens from overuse and over exercising.

The majority of achilles problems can be treated at home with rest, supports, and gentle exercises. Rushing back to running with achilles tendinitis can cause more serious damage, which can lead to surgery.   

Like many running injuries there are various ways in which you can try to prevent achilles tendinitis:

  • Stretch daily
  • Strengthen your calf muscles
  • Choose your running shoes carefully
  • Cross-train in activities varying in intensity levels

 

  1. Plantar Fasciitis

Known as the most common heel pain, plantar fasciitis is a strain or tear on the ligament which connects your heel bone to your toes. Straining your plantar fascia results in swelling and weakness at the bottom of your foot – this makes it painful to walk or even stand.

Plantar fasciitis is an injury that occurs over a long period of time, therefore it will take a while for the pain to completely go. With treatment and the right plantar fasciitis support, the pain will decrease in a few weeks, but it may take longer for the pain to fully disappear.

How can you treat it at home?

    • Give your feet a rest
    • Try not to run or walk on hard surfaces
    • Wear shoes with good arch support
    • Do toe stretches and calf stretches

 

  1. Shin Splints

Found in many runners, shin splints is the name given to pains located in the shins or front-lower legs. This type of injury usually isn’t serious, but does mean you’ll have to rest for a few weeks. Luckily, it can be treated at home.

Shin splints usually occur when there is a sudden change in activity. This can include changing intensity levels, exercise duration, or even a new style of running. If you begin to experience a dull aching pain in your shins, then it’s a good idea to take it easy for a few days and reassess your running schedule and intensity.

 

  1. Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

IT is an overuse injury of various connective tissues that are located on the outer part of the thigh and knee. It is commonly found in long distance runners and causes pain and tenderness above the knee joint. The iliotibial band aids knee flexion and extension, therefore if the tissue is overused it causes pain even when the heel touches the ground.

Recovering from this injury is all about patience. The first step is of course rest, followed by stretching, massaging the area of pain, and using foam rollers where the inflammation has occurred.

It’s never easy being on the sidelines and out of action, but if you’re suffering from an injury make sure you take the time to safely return back to exercise without causing any further damage. Take a look at our range of products that can give you that extra support whilst resting.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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