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3 Common Running Ailments and How to Cure Them

Women running in the winterUp to 80% of runners sustain running-related injuries in a given year1. These injuries can occur because of numerous risk factors, including:

  1. Inadequate footwear support
  2. Not stretching before hand
  3. Overpronation
  4. Irregular gait
  5. Lack of core stability
  6. Excess training

Knowing the most common ailments, and their potential causes is the first step to take preventative measures before, during and after a run. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will make you a more efficient athlete as well. Check out our breakdown of three common running ailments that all pavement pounders should be aware of, along with tips to recover if you experience it.

Shin Splints

This injury refers to lower-leg pain concentrated in your shins, which are located between the knee and ankle on the front. The soreness is felt either on the front of the leg, called an anterior shin splint, or the inside of the leg, called a medial splint.

Cause: Often this ailment is caused by sudden, abrupt changes in your training program without giving the body enough time to acclimate. For example, if you increase your pace and distance before your body is ready. Or you run a steep incline when you’re used to running on flat surfaces. In both instances, too much pressure is placed on the tibia bone which leads to inflammation.

Cure: To heal a shin splint, a gentle range-of-motion exercises targeting the feet, calves and knees to release tension on the lower-leg and strengthen the muscles which reduces the likelihood of future injuries3. Stretches include calf raises, dorsiflexion and lunges.

Plantar Fasciitis

This injury refers to a sharp, acute pain in the heel or the foot arch. This is caused by inflammation of a tissue band, known as the plantar fascia, which connects the heel and toes.

Cause: This ailment tends to result from overpronation, or rotating the foot too far inward, which prevents the bones from absorbing the shock of momentum. Overpronation creates an uneven distribution of weight, leading to a flat-footed running gait. Plantar fasciitis can also occur in high arches that are not ideally cushioned and supported, intensifying the strain on foot muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Cure: To heal plantar fasciitis, stabilizing both the heel and arch with proper footwear is crucial. Orthotics are your first line of defense. The arch must be in a supported position at all times while standing, walking and running. One unsupported step can add trauma to the injured area2.

Achilles Tendinitis

This is the largest network of tissues in the body, and its function is to connect the heel bone with the calf muscles. This injury refers to pronounced swelling and irritation in the Achilles tendon. Distance runners often experience this ailment if they don’t allow their bodies to ease into a mileage increase.

Cause: Although this tendon can handle acute pressure, overexertion can result in the area becoming fatigued, weakened and degenerated. Achilles Tendinitis is also caused by tightness in the calves which further strains the tendon and forces it to exude twice the amount of effort it normally would.

Cure: To heal Achilles tendinitis, cross-training with a low-impact regimen until the injured area is rehabbed completely4. Avoid weight-bearing exercises that add more stress on the tendon and substitute running with gentle cardio workouts like swimming or cycling. In addition, consistently stretch the calves and heels both before and after physical activities.

Keep Injuries at Bay

Strain on the body is an occupational hazard of being a dedicated runner; this sport engages the entire musculoskeletal system, after all. Just because injuries are common—and often expected—doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself and decrease the risks involved.

Smart, thorough and careful training could make all the difference between crossing that finish line or being laid-up on the couch. Keep the causes and cures in mind to become a better runner and avoid these painful, common ailments.

 

Bio: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is a long-time health and fitness writer. As the managing editor of Natural Awakenings, she gets to explore and research a wide variety of health and wellness topics. She’s a regular contributor for MindBodyGreen and is frequently writing new posts for her personal blog Health Be a Hippie. Follow her healthy musings and adventures on Instagram.

 

 

  1. Lobby, M. (2013, March 18). Avoid a Running Injury With the 10 Percent Rule. Retrieved November 01, 2017, from https://www.active.com/running/articles/avoid-a-running-injury-with-the-10-percent-rule
  2. Ulishney, G. (2017, September 01). Hurt Less, Run More. Retrieved November 01, 2017, from http://www.fit2run.com/hurt-less-run-more/
  3. Virtual Sports Injury Clinic, 2018, http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/rehabilitation-exercises/lower-leg-ankle-exercises
  4. “Achilles Tendinitis.”Runner’s World, https://www.runnersworld.com/achilles-tendinitis

 

 

 

 

 

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