5 Common Running Injuries and How to Treat Them


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As you clock up the miles in preparation for any running race, it’s inevitable that the constant pounding of the pavement will take it’s toll on your body.  We all know the importance of warming up before you head out and having a good stretch when you finish, however these good practices aren’t always enough to prevent injuries from rearing their ugly heads.  Some aches and pains are just part and parcel of being a runner, whilst others can be more serious and it’s therefore important to know when to take a break and seek help.

Here’s our list of the 5 most common running injuries and some suggestions on how to treat them, however we would like to highlight that we’re not medical professionals and it’s always worth going to see a specialist, such as Parkview Clinic in Reigate, if you have any persistent pain or discomfort.

Runner’s Knee

Research shows that 40% of reported running injuries are related to the knee which makes sense when you think it’s one of the joints which takes the most strain.

Symptoms – constant pain below the kneecap.

Problem – the cartilage under the kneecap has become irritated and the tissue around the knee is unable to repair itself post run.  

Cause – this can occur due to a variety of reasons including overpronation, weak quads, glutes and hips or even ‘biomechanical’ flaws that have formed over a number of years including pelvic alignment.

Treatment – don’t run through the pain as it will only result in a long term injury.  Take a week off and regularly ice the knee which might help you get back on track.  Stretch and strengthen exercises, especially your quadriceps muscles.  If it’s sore all the time, even when you’re not running then you definitely need to take a break and see a physio.  They will also be able to pinpoint the cause of pain (biomechanical, muscle weakness, pronation etc.) and help treat the root of the problem.

Return to training – once your injury is on the mend, heat rather than ice can help repair to repair the damage.  Ease gently back into your running slowly and work on strengthening up those weaker muscles.  Mix up your workouts with some cross training on a bike or in the pool.

Achilles Tendonitis

Symptoms – painful calves when running or walking, swelling and pain close to the heel which when acute, can be severe and crippling.

Problem – Anything with ‘itis’ means inflammation, with Achilles Tendonitis being an inflammation of the achilles tendon which joins the two calf muscles to the heel bone.

Cause – the root of this can come from increasing your distances/speed too quickly or having tight calf muscles.  Flip flops, high heels (obviously not when running) and unsupportive shoes can aggravate the issue too.  

Treatment –  any severe pain above the heel or swelling, you should stop immediately.  If it’s a small strain then a few days of rest, regular icing and stretching might relieve the symptoms, anything more serious, go and see a physio.  Inserts into your shoes may help provide more support and some runners find that compression socks help.

Return to training – add to your training calf raises, single leg squats and box jumps to help strengthen your lower legs.  Take it easy when you start running again with shorter distances, slower speeds and lots of stretching.

Plantar Fascitis

Feel that this should have a catchier name!

Symptoms – ranges from a dull ache to extreme pain under your heel.

Problem – a small tear or inflammation in the tendons that run along the bottom of your foot.  

Cause – runners who are prone to this can have high or low arches, pronation issues, tight hip flexors, a history of back pain or may just have increased their mileage too quickly.

Treatment – this is one that you shouldn’t keep running through as it will only prolong the injury.  Rolling your foot a few times a day over a frozen bottle or tennis ball can help stretch the tendons.  If it’s painful all the time, go and see a physio or sports injury specialist.  Recovery can be slow, anything from 3-6 months.  Worst case scenario you’ll have to take a full break from running and head to the pool instead.  Avoid flip flops for the foreseeable future…

Return to training – ensure you have lots of stretching and strengthening of the muscles around your foot and calves incorporated into your training.  Work on your core strength and make sure your trainers are a good fit, perhaps even with a custom orthotic.  

Shin Splints

The term actually encapsulates numerous shin issues and is again very common amongst new runners.

Symptoms – painful and tender shins when running, sometimes disappears a few miles in for less severe cases, growing to searing pain in the more severe cases.  Pain can appear on either the front side of the leg below the knee or the inside.  If it’s very painful to touch a specific spot on your shin, you should see a doctor in case it’s a fracture.

Problem – the muscles in your shin have become inflamed

Cause – usually this comes down to a case of too much, too soon!  New runners in particular are at risk as their lower legs muscles struggle to adjust to the increase of use, mileage and addition of hills or speed training.  Other causes include the wrong trainers, running on hard surfaces and tight muscles.

Treatment – depending on the severity you may need to avoid running for a couple of weeks and see a physio.  For less serious cases, rest, elevate your legs as much as possible, ice (bag of frozen peas) the fronts of your legs, compression bandages and use a foam roller.  

Return to training – build up very slowly and adopt the 10% rule – add no more than 10% distance each week.  Try running on softer surfaces such as trails to ease the pressure on your lower legs and make sure your trainers aren’t worn out.  As always, keep stretching!

ITBS

The iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that runs from your knee to your hip.

Symptoms – usually manifests itself as a stabbing pain on the outside of your knee when you run, in particular when you’re running downhill.

Problem – your IT band has become inflamed.

Cause – there can be various culprits at play with this injury, including overpronation, hill running, week hip abductors and glutes.  The band becomes more and more inflamed until running becomes extremely painful.  

Treatment – if you notice the pain in your knee but it’s not extreme, take some rest days and/or reduce your miles.  Use a foam roller on the affected spot, massage the quads and hamstring muscles, along with regular icing.  If it’s very painful then it’s worth going to see a physio who can help loosen the area up and provide you with a plan to help prevent this from happening again.  

Return to training –  keep using the foam rollers, before and after running.  Work on strengthening your hip abductors, quads, hamstrings and glutes.  Keep the hilly mileage down until you are fighting fit..

With most of these injuries there is often a common theme – increasing mileage too quickly, not enough stretching, worn out shoes or lack of strength training incorporated into your weekly plans.  I have been guilty of many of these and it resulted in both ITB syndrome and shin splints when training for my first marathon.  Fortunately I had a good physio who I saw regularly and helped both alleviate the symptoms and provide advice on how to avoid future recurrences.  

If you’re training for a race it can be incredibly frustrating to have to take time out with an injury, however it’s absolutely worth doing it to prevent a niggling pain from becoming a debilitating one.  If you need to stop running for a few days, you can still head to the pool or incorporate some elliptical training to maintain your fitness levels whilst you recover.

Run Reigate’s partner, Parkview Clinic offer services in physiotherapy, osteopathy and sports injury and are well worth a visit if you are having any aches and pains.  They are currently offering 10% off for all new consultations.

Parkview Clinic, 22 Dovers Green Rd, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 8BS – 01737 247 555  www.parkviewclinic.co.uk

 

 

A Running Bra for Every Body – Brooks


Running Bras

Wearing a correctly fitted sports bra while working out offers more than just great comfort, it also helps prevent irreversible damage that can lead to “sagging” breast tissue. At Brooks, our mission is simple – inspire women to move with confidence. When women feel their best, there’s no limit to where they can go.
Surprising facts that will change how you feel about sports bras…
 
80% of women wear the wrong bra size and more than 40% don’t wear a sports bra when exercising
Breast size can alter due to age, pregnancy, or weight change.
 
Essential Equipment
Sports bras are as critical as performance running shoes, no matter the breast size.
A correctly fitted sports bra can actually enhance your performance. 
Unwanted movement from the breasts during exercise compromises your natural gait cycle. To put it simply, you will be exerting the same amount of effort but not getting as far or as quick as someone who is wearing a correctly fitted sports bra.
Replace and Rejoice
A sports bra should be replaced every 6-12 months depending on usage and frequency. Fabric and elastics break with age and, just like running shoes they will stop working effectively and potentially cause discomfort.
A sports bra is the centre piece of a women’s wardrobe and just as important as her running shoes. We always recommend choosing a sports bra that feels comfortable and provides the correct level of support for the type of activity. To find out more information on Brooks sports bras visit Simply Sports.
 
Run Happy with Brook on Wednesday 2nd August – Priory Park, Reigate
Are you looking for a new pair of trainers? Brooks RunningSimply Sports and Run Reigate are hosting a ‘Try on a Pair’ evening on Wednesday 2nd August in Priory Park. Come along, take a pair of Brooks trainers out for a planned 5k run with Run Reigate, so you can actually try before you buy. If you take part, you will then receive a 20% discount on a pair!
If you’d like to join us on the evening for either a 7pm or 7.45pm run, please email us at info@runreigate.com.
Brooks Priory Park Run

Brooks Priory Park Run

Running man illustration

Advice on Shin Splints from Parkview Clinic


Run Reigate are delighted that Parkview Clinic in Reigate are joining us at this year’s event.  Check out their blog on Shin Splints and how their clinic can help if you’re suffering…

Parview

Shin Splints, also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is a condition commonly suffered by long distance runners and affects the front of the lower leg. It will often begin as a dull ache along the shin bone, but can build up to be quite an acute pain that will stop you exercising.

There are a number of reasons Shin Splints can happen, however, you are most at risk due to the following factors:

  • You’ve recently taken up running or increased your distance
  • You run on hard surfaces
  • You’re carrying too much weight
  • Poor fitting running shoes
  • Your feet roll inwards
  • The muscles of your lower leg are too tight

The pain is caused by inflammation to the connective tissue that joins your muscles to the bone. If you feel these symptoms it is vital that you do not run through the pain as this will only make it worse and keep you of sport for a longer time. A minimum of 2 weeks rest, ice and anti-inflammatory work is advised. However, if you have not addressed the reason it has come on then it may repeat once you start running again.

A quick accurate diagnosis is important to confirm that it is Shin Splints and not other conditions such as Compartment Syndrome, Radiculopathy, Stress Fractures or Muscle tear.

An early visit to a physiotherapist is the best solution  to confirm this and assess the reasons behind the pain. Physios will look at the angles of your feet, the integrity of the foot arch, the bio-mechanical chains between your feet, knees and hips and examine your stride pattern during running.

As mentioned, rest is vital, but calming down the inflammation and muscle tension can be sped up by using treatment techniques such as Ultrasound, Acupuncture, Facia release, Massage and exercise rehab. You may also be advised on changing footwear or using Orthotics and importantly making sure your running technique is correct.

Often through a desire for speed and exhaustion runners will over-reach in their stride pattern creating a more acute impact angle when the foot hits the ground, usually with the knee locked out in extension, thus reducing shock absorbance. This exaggerated impact that sends a force through the shin bone is a common reason for Shin Splints to begin. Don’t worry though, changing your running pattern doesn’t mean slower times as your “Cadence” or strides per minute can easily be maintained!

If you are concerned about such pain and it is affecting your training routine for the forthcoming Run Reigate event then please do give the team at Parkview Clinic Reigate a call and come down for an expert assessment. You’ll be pleased to know they are currently offering all entrants 10% off treatments up to the 18th September!

Visit: www.parkviewclinic.co.uk 01737 247555

 

Glass of milk

Give Your Recovery a Natural Boost


There are times when we all need some kind of recovery drink.  Whether it be a strong cup of tea after a tough morning meeting or, a drink (or two) in the pub with your mates after a testing week at work.  However, as essential as these beverages may be, these are not the kind of recovery drinks I’m talking about.  Sports drinks after a long run play an important role in restoring fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat, replacing muscle fuel and providing protein to help repair damaged muscles. That said, they don’t agree with everyone and are not the only options to aid your recovery.  Here’s a few natural options that you may want to incorporate.

For shorter runs, iced green tea can work wonders.  It has catechins (I promise I’ve not made this word up), a type of flavonoid and antioxidant that, as well as fighting disease, can also reduce muscle damage and speed recovery.  The key is in the steeping – the longer, the better.  If you drink 5 cups a day it becomes like a liquid superpower, but I’m not sure many of our bladders could contain that.

If you’re planning to run for 60 minutes, coconut water might be just what you need.  It provides a similar level of re-hydration as a sports drink, except it’s up to 10 times higher in potassium, an electrolyte that plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and muscle contractions (also found in bananas).  The best kind of water is straight from the nut, with a straw and umbrella.  This may pose a problem for those of you who don’t yet have coconut trees in garden, so perhaps best to stock up the next time you are holidaying along the Equator.  If not, the shops have some pretty good varieties.

Tart cherry juice drunk either before, the day of, or a couple of days after a really tough run, has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and muscle damage.  Cherries have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit and are a good source of melatonin – happy days!  

Another favourite is vegetable juice, with some combinations containing 3-5 times the amount of sodium and 10 times the potassium of a sports drink.  If it includes tomato, but not vodka (I’m not sure if there have been any studies on the recovery benefits of a Bloody Mary), you’re on to a winner.  Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects muscles from oxidative stress.  Other helpful veggies include beetroot, spinach and carrots.  Beware of the side effects of beets though – many an unsuspecting person has almost called for an ambulance after a trip to the toilet.  Just like these people: 

911 Beets

Last but not least is … milk.  Our lovely friends at the British Red Cross told us this last year.  The best drink you can have after a half-marathon is a drink of the pearly white stuff.  Studies have shown that milk is better than both water and sports drinks at restoring fluid levels after running in extreme heat – a common problem in Reigate.  If drunk regularly it also increases the time it takes to reach exhaustion during subsequent exercise sessions.  Couple that with the vitamin D and calcium it provides and you can see why it comes highly recommended.  Yes, this includes chocolate milk too.  What better way to treat the kids after their Run Reigate Kids Race miles!

As I said at the beginning, there are many benefits to sports drinks and it’s definitely worth incorporating these into your running regime.  These alternative recovery drinks are purely suggested as a means of complementing them, plus now you’ll get to use that new juicer you got for Christmas too.

 

Jared Green

Minimise your risk of injury


“Believe it or not, it is not the tendonitis, the strained ligament or the stress fracture that is commonplace but the seasoned athlete making those rookie mistakes, who keeps knocking on my door…” says Jared Green, a Musculoskeletal Podiatrist at North Downs Hospital in Caterham, Surrey.

Jared Green

With 14 years of experience under his belt, Green claims in his blog post ‘Running and The Rookie Mistakes’ that it’s a good thing that we actually have the power to avoid some common mistakes and limit our risk of injury.

From advice about blisters and chafing to tips on buying new shoes and knowing when it’s time to cast out old ones, he offers some useful insights such as:

‘As a guide, shoes should average 500-600 miles, after which a new pair should be sought. Judge the wear by the midsole NOT the upper or outer sole. If the midsole looks compressed or you start to get shin or joint pain, more than likely it’s time for a new pair. A quick test is to fold your shoe in half, if you can do it easily with one hand it’s time to let go and bid adieu.’

And points out the curious fact that your feet sweat about a cup of water each day – even without exercise!

He also discusses the latest advice on pre- and post-stretching and warm-ups and offers his take on the ‘no-pain, no-gain’ saying, plus what you should do if you truly must race with an injury…

You can read the full blog post here

Jared Green will be available at Run Reigate’s Half Marathon & 10K on 20 September to offer advice on injuries and complimentary gait analysis.

Ultrasun

Be fully protected on race day!


You’ve slept well, are carbo-loaded and dressed for success. But are you protected from the sun? It’s just as important to keep your skin protected on a long distance run as it is when you are spending time on a sunny beach.
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