More than 40 million Americans run on a regular basis. And it’s clear to see why, because it has numerous health benefits. Unfortunately, with running can come an increased risk for developing certain injuries. In fact, 80% of running injuries are due to the repetitive stress of the activity.
Some of the most common injuries can be treated with simple measures, such as resting for a period of time or undergoing physical therapy. Running injuries are not to be feared, but they should be taken seriously. In this blog, the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine list some of the most common running injuries.
1. Runner’s knee
Runner’s knee is an umbrella term that covers a number of conditions that cause pain around the kneecap. This syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as the following:
- Mild to severe pain in one or both knees
- Popping or clicking in your knee
- Difficulty straightening your knee after sitting
- Difficulty with climbing stairs
This condition can often be treated with physical therapy exercises.
2. Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is another common running injury. Your Achilles tendon connects the muscles in your calf to your heel. Achilles tendonitis occurs when this tendon gets inflamed as a result of overuse.
Achilles tendonitis is more common with increasing age and may be more likely to occur if you’re overweight or if you have high blood pressure, flat feet, or psoriasis. You may be able to keep from getting this condition if you warm up and stretch before you run and pace yourself when you run.
It’s important to make an appointment with us if you have Achilles tendonitis, because if left untreated, it can cause a tear in your Achilles tendon, which usually requires surgery.
3. Shin splints
Shin splints, which occur due to overuse of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue along the shinbone, can often affect new runners or those who dramatically increase the time or distance they run.
This pain, which runs down the front of the shin, usually goes away with rest. It’s an injury that isn’t considered too serious, although it can be painful. The way to help avoid getting this condition is to gradually increase how long and how far you run.
4. IT band syndrome
This syndrome affects the iliotibial band, a band of connective tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to your knee. IT band syndrome is caused by the tissue rubbing against the leg bone. You may feel like this band is tight when you touch it.
IT band syndrome can cause pain when you run or try to bend your knee. It may be prevented by strengthening the muscles in your abdomen, middle back, lower back, and gluteal region.
5. Stress fractures
Stress fractures occur as a result of repetitive injuries to the delicate bones of your feet. These injuries can happen due to repeatedly striking your feet on the pavement or other hard surfaces. Best diagnosed by an X-ray, these fractures are tiny but can cause a great deal of pain. Treatment usually involves 6-8 weeks of rest and may include wearing a cast or using crutches.
How you react to your injuries will determine whether you’ll be out of the race for a short period of time or a long one. When you get injured from running, the best bet is to slow down or even stop and rest for a while. Pushing through the pain could make the injury worse.
If you’ve experienced a running injury, we can help you get well. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today.