5 Common Running Injuries and How to Treat Them


stretching-814227_640

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

Parview

Parkview – Runner’s Knee


Check out the new blog from Parkview, Run Reigate’s on the day physiotherapists, all about Runner’s Knee, a problem that some runners may suffer from.  

If you do need some new trainers, Simply Sports in Reigate have professional fitters and on Thursday 8th September (10.00-15.30), Brooks will be there with their Experience Run Signature equipment to analyse your gait.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is probably the most common injury suffered by recreational runners. It is also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome as the pain comes on due to issues around the knee-cap (Patella).

Unfortunately, those most likely to suffer are young women due to a wider pelvis that in turn creates a greater angle at the knee during running, however, it is still very common in male runners too.

Runner’s knee will usually present as a dull ache around or behind the knee-cap, sometimes with swelling or cracking noises. Running through the pain will not help and only make it worse, as will hills, uneven ground or steps.

There are number of identified causes of this syndrome, the most common include:

  • Deformities to the Patella
  • Worn Cartilage surfaces
  • Flat feet creating incorrect angles of the knee
  • Weak medial Quadriceps allowing mal-tracking of the Patella
  • Simple overuse or poor shock absorbency

Getting rid of Runner’s Knee whilst maintaining a training program can be tricky, but not impossible. If you feel this coming on it is important to do the right things straight away. Cutting back your mileage will allow less load on the knee and speed up healing. Using ice regularly to get rid of any inflammation is vital. However, you must address the cause. This might mean a visit to a Physiotherapist and a specialist running shop to get your biomechanics assessed.

A sports orientated Physio can give you the advice and treatment you need to calm down the pain and begin the rehab process. Treatment can include Kinesio Taping for Patella tracking and swelling, Ultrasound, Acupuncture, Massage and rehab exercises to correct the problem. Orthotics and corrective running shoes may also be advised as part of the solution.

Remember, early intervention leads to the best outcomes, so if you think you might be suffering then please give one of the team at Parkview Clinic Reigate a call to see what can be done to get you back on track as fast as possible.

www.parkviewclinic.co.uk

01737 247555

Runners_panting

Every breath you take, every muscle that aches…or maybe not


Catherine Jaschinski from Illuminate Consulting, is a Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher.  Her blog for Run Reigate examines the benefits of diaphragm breathing for runners.

 

Sorry if the headline of this article is a bad play on the Police song ‘Every breath you take’ but hopefully my verbal karaoke has got your attention.

About the only time we pay any attention to our breathing is when we are out of breath.  In running it’s usually on the home stretch of a long run and if we are unlucky it’s going up a hill as well. Does anyone remember that from last year’s Run Reigate Half-Marathon?

Our breathing is such a critical part of anything we do and yet we take it for granted.  In running it can play a number of important roles, one of them being a ‘barometer’ for how we are feeling during a run.  Sometimes when we run, our breathing is heavy, sluggish and a real struggle to draw into the body, other times it’s is light, smooth and up-lifting.  Paying attention to the nature of our breathing can guide us to how our body is handling this run and with this information we can decide how to ‘pace’ our run, i.e. whether to push through the tough patches or whether in this particular instance it may be better to ease up a bit.  Your breath can be a great tool to help inform this type of decision especially if you are the kind of person who tends to push your body to breaking point and get injuries.

Another great way you can use your breath is to improve your endurance and recovery.  Yes, that’s right.  Not only is the breath helping you to get up and down those hills, but also if you actively breathe using your diaphragm rather than your chest, you can improve your endurance and will be less likely to become fatigued.  Now wouldn’t that be nice – not to have such aches and pains after a long run.

The evidence for this comes from research from the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunei University.  They measured fatigue levels of marathoner’s respiratory muscles and leg muscles and found a direct link between them – runners whose breathing was the most strained showed the most leg weakness.  They concluded that the harder the respiratory muscles had to work, the more the legs would struggle in a race.  So the key to preventing lung and leg fatigue is breathing more fully which is exactly what happens when you breathe using the diaphragm.

This is all very interesting but how on earth do I actively use my diaphragm to breathe when I don’t know where it is!  Your diaphragm is a big muscle that sits underneath your rib cage and is responsible for 80% of the effort involved in breathing.  If your tuck your fingers under your ribcage and gently push upward you will feel it there.

The easiest way to learn how to diaphragm or ‘belly breathe’ is to do the following….

  1. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent
  2. As you breathe in allow / encourage your stomach to gently inflate and rise upwards (this movement gets your diaphragm working)
  3. As you exhale allow your stomach to deflate and lower downwards
  4. Practice this for 5-10 minutes and then you can try it standing for a few minutes

Once you’ve started to train the diaphragm breathing in a stationary position (lying or standing) you can try to use it while walking and then eventually bring it into your running.

This type of breathing is also very good to relax the body and mind so can be used outside of running to manage stress, build resilience and balance in other aspects of your life.

Just as we would train our hamstrings and quads to improve our leg strength we can improve our respiratory muscles for better breathing and ultimately better endurance.  

So when you next head out for a run, take a moment to notice your breath, use your diaphragm (at the start of the run at least) and thank it for helping you to enjoy those longer runs a little bit more.

Catherine Jaschinski

Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher

Illuminate Consulting Ltd

Mobile: 07801 045 905

Illuminate Colour on Clear copy

The next Yoga for Runners workshop will be on Wednesday 5th October 7.30 – 9.30pm in Reigate. Call Cath on mobile number 07801 045 905 or email illumin8te@btinternet.com if interested.

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

 

Angie Stewart  |  Beverly Hills Ambassador

How can yoga benefit runners?


“If I were given £1 for every time someone has told me ‘I’m not flexible enough to do yoga’ I would be a millionaire by now”, says Catherine Jaschinski, a Reigate-based yoga and mindfulness teacher. Here she explains how yoga can help runners. 

Honestly, as a yoga teacher I find it totally perplexing when I hear this [‘I’m not flexible enough to do yoga’] because it is so much more than flexibility. And for runners, yoga offers a vast range of benefits that can be accessed as and when they are needed.

I have run pretty much all my life, in fact, my mother said that as soon as I could walk, I ran!  And I still love running; whether it be as part of a sport or just for the pure joy of getting out of the house and exploring my surrounds or challenging myself to run crazily long distances… it makes me feel alive and free (most of the time!).

For most of the years that I have been running, I have also practiced yoga, and I am not naturally flexible.  There is no doubt that the stretching element of yoga has helped to keep my body more mobile than it would ordinarily have been, but I have discovered that it is surprisingly good in other areas. Let’s have a look at just a few of them.

Strengthening benefits

Yoga does include stretching, but we also need to contract supportive muscles to create balance. Many of the muscles that are not used in running can be strengthened by yoga.

Take, for example, the upper body.  Research is starting to show that the optimal arm position is with the elbows bent 90 degrees, close to your ribs with your arms swinging back and forth along the sides of your body (this may sound obvious but not everyone runs like this!).  It takes strong arm, shoulder and back muscles to swing the arms in this fashion and yoga postures such as ‘downward dog’, ‘plank’ and ‘dolphin’ strengthen the whole upper body.

Core strength is also improved with yoga. A strong, stable core doesn’t come from doing thousands of sit-ups; it comes from positioning the body so that it develops balance and stability by challenging all of the torso muscles. Standing balances such as ‘tree pose’ and ‘eagle pose’ are great at this, as well as many balancing lunges where the arms are raised above the head, or are twisting to the side of the body.

Taking out injury insurance

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of runners who are totally passionate about yoga are those people who have been running for many years, have incurred a lot of injuries and have then realised they need to look after their body better if they want to continue to run. Yoga can be seen as an insurance policy for runners – you may still have injuries but you are less likely to get them, and, if you do, you are more likely to recover more speedily. I have certainly found this to be the case in the limited times I have been injured.

On my Yoga for Runners workshop I cover the most common injuries and identify which postures will help to prevent these injuries.

Body awareness

When running, we are used to persevering and pushing through to a longer distance or faster time. Sometimes we do this at the expense of our body and, if we do it often enough, we may injure ourselves.

Yoga can teach us how to listen to our body, and this may mean going a bit slower or being gentler. This ability to know when to pull back, as well as when to push through, can help us to respect our bodies and, ultimately, be a better runner.

Catherine’s next Yoga for Runners workshop is on Wednesday 9 September 7.30–9.30pm in Reigate.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact Catherine Jaschinski, Illuminate Consulting Ltd, on 07801 045 905 or email jaschinski@btinternet.com 

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.