Runners are often very dedicated, and this can lead to some poor health habits when it comes to common injuries. Many times, devoted runners believe it's better to push through the pain than to give in to it. Unfortunately, this is often a recipe for worsened or even permanent injuries. In this article, we review seven common injuries runners experience. We also provide good advice regarding what you should do and when you should see your doctor. Read on to learn more.
7 Top Runner’s Injuries
1. Plantar Fasciitis is the top foot injury among runners. Stress and strain on the ligaments and tendons of the feet can result in inflammation and tears. This results in pain that feels as if your heels or arches have been bruised. It manifests as a dull ache. If you feel this pain after resting or as soon as you get out of bed and then it resolves as you walk around, you can be pretty sure that you're experiencing plantar fasciitis. This pain can be dealt with through ice packs, massage and the use of supportive shoe inserts. It's also very important that you wear the right footwear in good condition. If you are unable to resolve the pain in your feet through these means, you should see your doctor and/or podiatrist.
Strained hamstring muscles can cause a great deal of pain for runners. The hamstrings are the large muscles that run along the back of the thigh. These are the muscles you use to move forward as you run. When your hamstrings become injured, it can affect both your strength and your flexibility. It can take quite a long while to heal hamstring strains, and once these muscles become injured, re-injury is likely. If you're experiencing pain in your hamstring muscles at all, you should see your doctor and follow his or her advice closely for exercise, physical therapy and other treatments to help heal the injury and resolve the pain. Attempting to run through this pain can result in permanent injury.
3. Runner’s knee is certainly the most common form of injury and runners. If you have runner’s knee, you will experience tenderness and pain in, under or around your kneecap. The pain may be worse at the beginning of your run and may resolve somewhat as you run. Don't be fooled, you should still see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and advice on dealing with and resolving your pain.
4. Achilles tendinitis is a condition that affects the tendon connecting the back of your heel to your calf muscles. This condition occurs when this area is under a great deal of stress, which causes the tendon to tighten and become irritated resulting in pain in the heel. You may experience a dull pain in this tendon while you run. Treating this pain with ice may resolve it. If not, or if you find that you're experiencing heel pain even when you are not running, you should see your doctor.
5. Medial tibial stress syndrome is also known as shin splints. This manifests as pain and achiness all along your shins. This is caused by tearing of the muscles around the shinbone, and if it is left untreated it can become quite serious. If you find that you're experiencing quite a bit of achiness and tightness around the shins when you run, but you are able to jump and walk and otherwise ambulate without pain, it is very likely that you are experiencing shin splints. There is no home remedy for this. You must see your doctor right away.
6. The iliotibial band (IT band) runs down the outer side of your leg from your hip to your knee and down the side of the shin. If this band becomes irritated, you will feel pain along the outer side of your knee joint. You may not feel this at first when you're running, but after a mile or so you may start experiencing quite a bit of tightness and pain on the outer knee. You may be able to walk out, but if you do not treat this condition, you'll soon begin feeling a popping sensation and hearing clicking sounds as the IT band snaps against your knee joint. Physical therapy is the answer to this problem.
7. Stress fracture is an impact injury that can occur in your heels, the bones of your feet and/or your shins. This is a very serious running injury because it indicates too much stress, too much impact and possible problems with bone density. Stress fractures tend to develop gradually over a period of time with repetitive use and stress. You may feel pain as you run, and you may simply feel pain when you are standing for a long while or when you walk a great distance. This is a progressive injury that will only get worse with time and may even result in a complete fracture of the affected bone. If you suspect a stress fracture, you should see your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What to Say to Your Doctor
When you see your doctor, there are several questions that you should ask to help you get a handle on exactly how serious your pain is and what you should do about it. Ask your doctor these four questions:
Listen carefully to your doctor's advice and follow it closely. Your doctor may refer you to physical therapy to help you heal. He or she may also refer you to a variety of forms of alternative therapy to help you manage the pain.