How to prevent running injuries

Did you know that more than 80% of runners will get injured at some point?Running is one of the most popular ways to improve fitness and to stay in shape. Running is free, it’s accessible to everyone, it helps to sleep better, it boosts your immunity, it improves mental health, it lowers blood pressure, it builds your self-esteem, and so on. But why is something with so many benefits so injury prone for many? 

There’s unfortunately no simple, satisfying answer. It doesn’t matter if your female or male, old or young, if you pronate or supinate too much, run on streets or trails, are wearing expensive, cheap or no shoes. Running is a complex activity and even among true expert’s opinions differ. To keep it simple: running is a high-impact and repetitive activity and these two factors alone put a lot of stress on our body. And these challenges often get amplified through previous injuries or any existing body weakness like muscle imbalance, compensation, or postural issues. Another important factor that needs to be included is Overtraining: doing too much too fast before the body is ready for it. The body needs time to adapt to stressors and most important time to process and recover.Below are the six most common injuries experienced by runners at all levels, all of them are painful, persistent and can interfere or end the running season. Even so they all have their own risk factors and causes, following general prevention measures and listening to your body can lower the risks and help to recover faster. Taking care of your body is an essential tool: regular Soft Tissue Treatments keep your muscles healthy, ensure full range of motion, enhances circulations, and supports you with recovery and injury prevention.

Hamstring Strains are nasty and very persistent. Often not really painful but they can drag on endlessly and minder the joy of running. One of the best ways to prevent hamstring strains are to strengthen your butt muscles to ensure that they’re doing their part and the hamstrings are not overworking. And stretch your hamstrings regularly and right to keep them in a healthy, flexible state.  

Stress Fractures usually result from overtraining with insufficient rest and recovery. They can be very painful and can require months of rest if they progress without early intervention. The right footwear for your anatomy and running style helps to prevent them, as well as working on a strong running form and having a training plan that includes proper rest and recovery time.

Achilles Tendonitis and strains to the calf muscles are often caused through tight calf muscle and/or weak ankle joints. The best strategy to prevent them is to ensure full range of motion at your ankle joint, strengthening the ankles with balance work and stretch the calves over a step to get full range and do it with straight and bend knee to target different muscles. 

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s knee) cause both pain at the knee, the first one more on the outside of the knee, partially up the thigh and the second one at the front of the knee, around the kneecap. The cause of both is overuse. Mostly triggered through muscle imbalances and body conditioning. As mentioned above: adequate footwear, good running form, enough rest and recovery and a well-adjusted core strengthening program prevents these issues. 

Plantar Fasciitis is an extremely persistent and often very painful injury. It’s a dull or stabbing pain in your heel or arch of your foot. It’s worse after sitting or in the morning, it increases after exercise and when you flex or stretch the foot. The prevention strategy is again: right footwear, optimal strength and flexibility in your lower legs and ankle, good running Technik and the right footwear. Be careful with self-treatment, especially with the highly praised tennis ball method, it can increase inflammation and even lead to tearing. The tennis ball is a good thing to loosen up your plantar fascia but only when your foot is healthy.

Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) is another very unpleasant injury with pain and tenderness along the front of your leg (shin bone). It can be debilitating but normally gets better quickly after some rest. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to exercise, simply avoid wight bearing stuff and go for a swim or bike ride and choose a soft ground when you restart running. And once more: strengthen the right muscles, use proper form and footwear, allow enough time for rest and recovery, and stretch regularly. 

Sorry but, the chances are good that you will get injured when you run regularly. But please, do not let that stop you from running then if you follow the basic injury prevention measures continuously, your risk of injury decreases. Listen to your body and take care of an issue as soon as something feels wrong. Don’t ignore it and don’t wait too long. A qualified Soft Tissue Therapist can support you with prevention, recovery, and the right strengthening exercises. We keep you on track or bring you back to it stronger than before. As a runner you put so much effort into your training, it’s well worth to put some effort in taking care of your body too. Book yourself in today, a sports massage is not a luxury reserved for top athletes, it’s an investment in yourself!

Published by ammann05

I'm a soft tissue therapist, a pilates instructor, family manager (two girls, a husband and a dog), event planner, travel agent, taxi driver, chef, baker, runner, tennis player, swim, football and rowing mum, blogger, photographer, artist, shopping genius, stand up paddler, traveler, life lover, ... Originally Swiss, from summer 2015 to summer 2018 we lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. The move to the US was a big and successful adventure for our family. We loved the American way of life and it was hard to leave after three years. Our home base for our new adventure is Linton, a village in rual Cambridgeshire close to Cambridge UK. I always loved to travel and explore new countries and cultures. With the opportunity to live for a couple of years abroad a dream came true.

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