Most running injuries occur in the lower extremity, although upper body injury, as a result of a fall, is not uncommon.
Upper body injuries normally occur due to runner fatigue, change in running surface, inappropriate footwear or poor technique which results in a fall and subsequent injury.
Nonetheless, most runners tend to report lower limb injury (specifically from the knee downwards) as a result of their running activity. The knee is the most common injured site on runners, followed by the lower leg, foot and upper leg.
Examples of common running injuries
|Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFP)||PFP is a generic term used to describe pain at the front of the knee and around the knee cap|
|Achilles tendinopathy||Achilles tendinopathy causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the Achilles tendon. It is thought to be caused by repeated tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon|
|Plantar fasciitis||Plantar fasciitis results in pain in the heel and bottom of the foot|
|Iliotibial band syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome results in pain on the outside of the knee that is caused by friction of the iliotibial band on the side of the knee.
|Stress fractures||A stress fracture is a fatigue-induced fracture of the bone caused by repeated stress over time.|
Causes of injury
The aetiology of running injuries are multifactorial and include overtraining, non-specific training methods, previous injury history, inappropriate or poorly fitting footwear, as well as abnormal running mechanics. The risk of injury is significantly increased should any of these factors, or a combination of these factors, affect the runner. Indeed, research has noted that higher running miles per week in male runners is a risk factor as is a history of previous injury, which will predispose the runner to further injuries.
1. Exercises to strengthen muscles are essential when trying to address/reduce muscular imbalances. These exercises should be performed two to three times a week with one to two sets of 15 to 20 repetitions per exercise.
2. Stretching should form part of the athlete's warm up and deeper stretching should be performed after exercise when the muscles are warm and more pliable.
3. Foam rollers should be used before the athlete stretches the muscles. This is a very effective method of applying self-massage. The best approach is to roll on a tight aspect of the muscle for no more than a minute at a time.
4. Running shoe selection is critical. In general, a motion control shoe is best for overpronators with flat feet. A shoe with extra cushioning is best for those with a rigid, high-arched foot. A pair of running shoes should be worn for no longer than 400 to 500 miles.
5. Sports massage should be part of every runner's training programme. Sport massage/soft tissue release can be linked to performance enhancement, injury prevention and injury rehabilitation.
To read a full article published by FHT please visit fht.org.uk/running-injuries or talk to us at Therapy Expo, on stand TD47