Running continues to be a popular way to improve and maintain cardiovascular fitness while staying active. While the numerous benefits are overwhelming, it doesn’t overshadow the effects of the repetitive stress your body endures during the activity.
Runners may endure an injury at some point. It helps to know the most common types of running injuries, symptoms, and how to treat them to avoid worsening the experience.
Read on to discover the three most common injuries that affect runners.
Also known as patellofemoral syndrome, runner’s knee typically refers to pain one would experience around the kneecap or in front of the knee. This injury can occur from the overuse of joints and soft tissues around the kneecap area.
A general weakness in the tendons around the knee can place you at a higher risk of developing runner’s knee. Pain symptoms may include uncomfortable or dull sensations in one or both knees and may worsen when you sit or exercise for prolonged periods.
Fortunately, with the help of your physician, you can treat patellofemoral pain using rehabilitation exercises, supportive braces, taping, and ice.
This type of injury occurs when the tendons connecting your calf muscles and heels become inflamed. Many runners experience this injury with a heel strike or when their foot makes contact with the curb. You may also experience discomfort when running up the stairs or when you suddenly change direction.
You can develop Achilles tendonitis after increasing the intensity or distance of your running. Other causes of Achilles tendonitis can include tight calf muscles, incorrect footwear, and poor running form.
You can treat Achilles tendonitis by modifying your training schedule to lower training intensity, stretching your calf muscles prior to running, and using heel insoles and arch supports. Performing strength exercises to improve shock absorption while running allows your muscles and joints to handle the stress in the future.
Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
Lastly, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, otherwise known as ITB Syndrome, can occur when the repetitive friction of the band rubs against your leg bone. The ITB is an extended piece of connective tissue that runs from your hip to your knee and helps stabilize knee joints and surrounding tissues.
When injured, your IT band creates a sharp pain on the outside of your leg, typically above your kneecap. This injury can manifest as a tender sensation, making your leg sensitive to the touch and causing pain that worsens upon bending.
To treat this type of injury, use gentle exercises that strengthen your hip abductors and extensor muscles. You would also benefit from applying ice after runs and massaging the lateral knee.
Runners can log hundreds or thousands of miles per year; however, with distance comes the possibility of suffering an injury. It’s important to remain aware of the three most common running injuries and understand the proper recovery steps to take without delaying your fitness goals.
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