Running Injuries

How to recognise the most common running injuries – and fix them!

Approximately two million people regularly go running in the UK.

Partly of it’s popularity is that pretty much anyone can pull on a pair of trainers and go outside; and plenty of people do just that. The NHS Couch To 5K has helped countless people start running, and the booming Parkrun scene has thousands getting up early on a Sunday morning to run round a local park in a friendly, no-judgemental mass-participation environment. And for some, running short distances leads onto longer distances, from 5K to 10K to half marathons and marathons. But the very fact that anyone can go for a run means that injuries from running are sadly all too common.

Common running injuries and how to fix them

Like most things; prevention is easier than a cure! Although there are studies that suggest stretching isn’t necessary, making sure that the muscles are warm before going all in and investing in a good, high quality pair of fitted running shoes can really lower the chances of you getting injured, as can making sure that you don’t set out too far, too fast; you should only increase your distance around 10% a week – that doesn’t mean you should start with a 20 miler!

Still, if you do get injured, it’s important to take the right action in order to recover as quickly as possible. We’ve listed some of the common injuries and advice about what you can do below:

Hamstring injuries from running

How you’ll know if you have a hamstring injury:

You’ll know you have this if you’re experiencing pain along the back of your thigh, with the muscles there feeling tight and / or weak. You may also feel a sharper pain just below or in the buttocks, where the three hamstring muscles originate.

How you probably injured your hamstrings:

If you’ve gone out too far, too soon, or have glutes and back extensor muscles that could be strengthened, or if you’re not very flexible, you could be one of the 7% of runners who pick up a hamstring injury.

What you can do about your hamstring injury:

Reduce the amount you run, or even consider taking a break from running for a little while. If you continue running, stay away from hills and speed work, as this will put more stress through your hamstring muscles. Work on your flexibility, and look at strengthening your glutes and back extensor muscles. Soft tissue therapy can help with stretching and flexibility for the hamstrings, and taping can help with inflammation and support.

IT Band (illiotibial band) syndrome

How you’ll know if you have IT band problems:

For the amount of press that the IT Band gets, you would be forgiven for thinking that more than 13% of runners suffer from this at some point. You’ll know if you’re one of them if you feel a tightness down the outside of the thigh, and pain where the IT band attaches to the outside of the knee.

How you’ve probably developed illiotibial band syndrome problems:

Issues with the IT band are often caused by issues with the glutes and core muscles. You can also pick this injury if you run on an uneven, curved surface – like the gutter or continually sloped pavements.

What you can do about IT band issues:

You can’t make any real difference to the IT band by rolling it (because it is a very tough band and meant to be tight so that you can stand upright), although using a foam roller on the quads and hamstrings will no doubt feel relieving. Instead, work on mobility by performing stretches and exercises, and look at strengthening the glutes. Again, soft tissue therapy can help with the inflammation that you’re likely to have, and taping can help with support around the knee.

Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome or PPS) injuries from running

How you’ll know if you have a runner’s knee injury:

Your knee hurts! The pain could be in or around your knee, but it’ll be very distinctive and uncomfortable. 40% of runners complain of knee problems, so you’re definitely not alone with this issue.

How you probably got a runner’s knee injury:

This can be related to leg biomechanics (remember that advice about shoes?). There is normally irritation to the cartilage behind the knee cap.

What you can do about runner’s knee pain:

You’re going to need to look at some cross training for this injury, along with cutting back on your running a little. Check your running shoes – if you’ve had them a long time, covered a lot of miles or are a heavier runner, you might need to buy some new shoes as your current ones may not be offering enough support. You should look to strengthen your glutes, and the muscles of the thigh and calf if they are weak, to help support your knee. You may well also need to stretch your quads and hip flexor muscles more. Specialist taping techniques can help offer support.

Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) and running pain

How you’ll know if you have shin splints or medial tibial band stress syndrome:

Common to about 15% of runners, a tight, uncomfortable pain along the front of your shin will often be shin splints. It can feel worse when you move your feet.

How you probably got shin splints:

Shin splints are often related to running too much, too soon, or running on hard surfaces.

What you can do about shin splints or medial tibial band syndrome:

Most of us have to run on the pavements, but well padded shoes, and padded socks, can help. Specialist taping to the shin can offer relief, and there are soft tissue release and muscle energy techniques that can offer quick relief; we can show you techniques to help deal with this yourself should a flare up occur.

How State 11 Soft Tissue Therapy can help with running injuries

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