Perfect your form, train properly, and live an injury-free life!
For those of us who love to run, injuries are a major bummer. The good news is, with the right habits, you can keep your body in proper shape, so that you are ready to hit the roads and trails you love! Skinny Ms. can help you to better understand some of the most common injuries that plague runners, and teach you how to avoid them.
7 Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them
1. Runner’s knee. Runner’s knee is the term used to describe many different medical conditions that cause pain around the front part of the knee. It can make it difficult to walk, sit, squat, or climb stairs. Runner’s knee can stem from several different causes, including: misalignment or dislocation of the knee cap, muscle injury, and even flat feet.
2. IT Band Syndrome. The iliotibial (IT) band is a ligament that runs on the outside of the thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. It can become inflamed and painful when it rubs against the knee too much. Long-distance runners tend to have more trouble with IT band injuries.
3. Pulled muscles. It’s very common for runners to pull or strain soft tissue such as hamstrings, calves, or ankles. Learn more about how to relieve muscle soreness here.
4. Stress fractures. Runners are susceptible to stress fractures in the legs and feet, which are tiny cracks in the bone that occurs from repetitive motion.
5. Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot.
6. Shin splints. Shin splints cause pain along the front or inside of the shin bone (tibia).
7. Blisters. Blisters occur on feet when the skin rubs against the side of ill-fitting shoes.
You can reduce your risk of getting a running injury with the right precautions, including:
1. Using the proper running form. Make sure you are looking straight ahead, keeping your back and torso upright, your arms at your waistline at a 90 degree angle, and your shoulders relaxed, with a gliding stride and a gentle foot strike that properly absorbs the shock from the landing.
2. Training correctly. Ensure that you are varying altitudes and terrains, using interval training, and taking part in strength training regularly. For ideas on how to set up a running schedule that will allow your body to adapt at the right speed, check out our post on Running for Absolute Beginners.
3. Practicing good pre- and post-running habits. As with any exercise routine, it’s important to incorporate a warm-up and cool-down period into each run. Whether or not stretching before running is essential remains somewhat controversial, but if you think it might relax your muscles and give you more flexibility, it may be worth a try.
4. Not pushing too hard. A little soreness that goes away overnight is OK, but if you have continuous and/or moderate to severe pain, you should rest and visit the doctor if necessary. It’s better to lose some running time than to make your injury worse.
5. Wearing the right shoes. Know the shape of your foot, and wear shoes that provide the right space and support. To ensure you buy the right shoes, read our tips on Choosing the Perfect Running Shoe.
If you’re a first-time runner, check out our post, Start Running without Injury or Burnout.