Running is a great form of exercise. It’s easily accessible, and it’s inexpensive — you don’t need a gym membership or any sort of equipment, just a good pair of shoes. Because of that, running is extremely popular, with over 40 million Americans engaging in this form of exercise on a regular basis.
However, running does come with a high probability of getting injured. In fact, 50% of those who run on a regular basis get injured enough to keep them from running for several weeks or even months, and 80% of those injuries are from strain or overuse.
Because many of these injuries can be prevented, Matthew Hinderland, DPM, Jordan Cameron, DPM, Trevor Whiting, DPM, Tyler Gloschat, DPM, Joseph Fleck, DPM, and the rest of our team at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado want you to be aware of some common running injuries and how to avoid them.
1. Runner’s knee
Runner’s knee refers to pain that’s in or around your kneecap, and it’s a common injury that results from overuse. Things that can put you at risk for developing this injury include having weak thigh and hip muscles, having flat feet, using shoes that are new or worn out, or having poor running form.
In order to prevent runner’s knee, you can work on strengthening the muscles you use to run. A great place to start is with your hip abductors and extensors. You also may want to invest in proper running footwear and make sure you use proper form while running.
2. Shin splints
When you have shin splints, you typically experience pain along the front or inner portions of your shins. Shin splints often happen when you increase your mileage too quickly or you change the kind of surface you’ve been running on.
If you want to prevent shin splints, invest in some high-quality running shoes. You want to make sure they fit your foot type and are appropriate for the type of running you do. Running shoes also need to have ample shock absorption — you need to replace them every 400-600 miles.
3. IT band syndrome
Your iliotibial (IT) band is a long piece of connective tissue that runs from your outer hip to your knee. When your IT band is injured, you often experience pain on the outside of your knee or on your outer hip and thigh. IT band syndrome can be caused by poor running form, weak hip abductors, and poor shoe choice.
Stretching your IT bands before running is a surefire way to prevent injury. You also want to make sure you replace your shoes as often as needed with ones that fit you properly.
4. Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries. It happens when the band of tissue underneath your foot — known as fascia — becomes irritated or starts to degenerate. You may notice pain or burning on the bottom of your foot and in your heel. Those with high arches, flat feet, or tight calf muscles are at a high risk for plantar fasciitis.
To prevent plantar fasciitis, you need to practice ample stretching before running. For best results, stretch both the plantar fascia and your calves.
5. Stress fractures
Stress fractures occur when you have a hairline fracture in your bone from repetitive impact. When you have a stress fracture, you experience constant pain typically in your shins, but it can also occur in your feet, hips, thighs, or pelvis. Stress fractures often develop from untreated shin splints.
To avoid developing a stress fracture, invest in high-quality footwear that best suits your running approach, make sure you have plenty of proper training, and never run on excessively hard surfaces.
If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent common running injuries or be evaluated for one, contact our team to set up an appointment. You can do this by giving us a call or by booking online today.