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Experiencing an injury in the midst of your running training can really halt your progress, especially if you have a goal in mind that you’re hoping to achieve. It’s often during times that we ramp up the training, for example when you’re training to achieve a new time, or a new distance, that we tend to come down with some kind of injury. While keeping your body strong by cross-training, as well as taking time off to rest if you’ve been training hard, are both helpful methods in fending off injuries sometimes these things happen. We’re going to go through the five most common running injuries and how to identify them.

What is IT Band Syndrome?

First and foremost, we have IT band syndrome which we have covered in a previous video entirely dedicated to the condition. This manifests itself in pain down the side of the thigh and around the hip level. This can often be caused as a result of the tightening of the IT band which can happen after you’ve been for a run. If you like to run in the morning, or perhaps you run-commute, followed by sitting at a desk for the rest of the day, the IT Band becomes tight while you’re inactive. This creates pulling on the IT band itself and causes pain on the side of the knee. If you’re a new runner, increasing time and distance that you’re running gradually will help to ease yourself into the sport in order to avoid developing injuries, especially an overuse injury like IT band syndrome. Perhaps you’re aiming for a specific goal and have recently upped the amount of mileage or running to be more intense than you’re used to, although your cardiovascular system may adapt relatively swiftly, your musculature system can take much longer to adapt to these stresses. Incorporating other forms of exercise alongside your running to strengthen your body can be a wise decision to help prevent these overuse injuries from occurring.

What is Runner’s Knee?

Another common injury is runner’s knee, also known as jumper’s knee in children. This affects the front of the knee or around the knee joint, and is essentially excessive pressure going through the quad tendon, pulling between the patella and into the lower leg. This is something that is particularly aggravated by running in a similar way to IT band syndrome. It can, again, be flared by running in the morning before or on the way to work, followed by a long period of time sitting. This can cause the patella to pull on the femur, the upper leg, which will likely cause pain when you eventually stand up. You may find benefit in easing the load by reducing your training, combined with icing the area multiple times during the day for 5 minutes at a time. Certain stretches can be beneficial to help rehabilitate the area, these can be advised by a healthcare professional who can also assess your knee at the same time.

What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints can be an incredibly painful condition that can often lead to even more stressful conditions if it is left untreated and you continue to run. These affect the lower leg in the inside on the front of the tibia, the body part of your shin. This area is particularly can be particularly sensitive to pain, which is the reason why shin pads are often worn while playing football. The calf muscle wraps around the front of the leg and plugs into the bone on the front of the leg. The repetitive impact of running alongside potentially other factors such as a sudden increase in training, running on hard surfaces, ill-fitting shoes, over-pronating or having already tight muscles, could all increase the likelihood of experiencing shin splints. During this repetitive stress, the fibres that attach the muscle into the bone become disrupted which is what causes such intense pain in a lot of runners. This problem can be rehabilitated at home, but if ignored it could progress into compartment syndrome, which is more serious.

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What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis is also a particularly painful injury that runners can suffer, and can be closely related to and affect the same groups of muscles as shin splits. With these muscles and tendons, if you’re affected by achilles tendinitis you may find it difficult to walk or experience pain in the back on the heel. One of the most common pieces of advice can be to stretch it out, but that can actually pull on the tendon and inflame it further. If you imagine the amount of impact the tendon takes while running, going ahead and stretching the area even harder might cause you more damage in the long term. With tendon injuries, besides icing the area for five minutes at a time a few times a day, you may find more benefit from visiting a professional who will be able to do some treatment as you’ll find the downtime may be less in the long-term, and you can learn how to rehabilitate and strengthen the area. At the clinic, we do some work into the two bellies of the calf muscle, even though the pain will be located lower into the actual achilles tendon itself. That will be more beneficial than working on the achilles itself. Once damaged, the achilles tendon could take weeks, or even months, to heal, so it’s best to seek the help of a professional if you do start to experience pain in this area to treat the problem as early as possible.

What is the cause of pain in the hamstring?

If you’re experiencing pain on the back of your thighs, you might have strained the hamstring muscle on a particular rigorous run. If you don’t make a habit of warming up, or cooling down properly, you may have muscular pain that affects this area of the body. Your hamstrings and glutes are the muscles that will give you the drive to propel your body forwards, so straining the hamstring muscle may give you a lot of pain and you may feel weaker than normal. The severity of the strain may determine how long it may take for the area to heal. A minor muscle strain could just take a couple of days to calm, while it could be weeks or months of healing to recover from a complete tear of the muscle. Again, seeking help from a professional is recommended incase the problem requires a more targeted rehabilitation approach.

If you’ve experienced an injury while running and need a professional to give treatment or advice for your specific problem, contact us today on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to see how we can help!