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Common Running Injuries

Injuries, Prevention and Treatment.

“Tis the season for runners. Marathons, 5k’s and Triathlons, Oh My!

With that can come a score of injuries. Here are three of the most common:

1. Runner’s knee

Runner’s knee is a wearing away of the back of the kneecap, causing pain in the knee. This can occur because of decreased strength of middle quadricep muscles, or shoes that do not give proper support when you come off of your forefoot on the inside. What to do? The condition is typically treated with a full-length sports orthotic and strengthening exercises directed at the middle quad muscle. Talk to a sports medicine doctor about getting into physical therapy and learning about the best stretches to heal runner’s knee.

2. Stress fractures

Stress fractures can be caused by overtraining, a shortage of calcium, or by some basic biomechanical flaw — either in your running style in or your body structure. Common stress fractures in runners occur in the tibia (the inner and larger bone of the leg below the knee), the femur (thigh bone) and in the sacrum (triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the metatarsal (toe) bones in the foot.

The more the miles, the greater the stress. And this is one injury you should not ignore. Stress fractures are like a hardboiled egg, the shell is cracked and next stop is a full-fledged fracture. See a doctor who specializes in treating running injuries.

3. Iliotibial band syndrome, a.k.a. ITBS

Marked by a sharp, burning knee or hip pain, ITBS is a very common running injury among marathoners. Indeed, it’s responsible for as many as 80% of all overuse pains on marathon day. The ITB is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh — from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. It stabilizes the knee and hip during running, but when it thickens and rubs over the bone, the area can become inflamed or the band itself may become irritated — causing pain.

The best stretch? Place the injured leg behind the good one. If the left side is sore, cross your left leg behind your right one. Then lean away from the injured side toward your right side. There should be a table or chair that you can hold onto for balance. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds and repeat on each side 7 to 10 times, prescribes Pribut.

4. Shin splints

The most common type of shin splints happen on the inside of legs. These medial shin splints are a running injury that results from a biomechanical flaw in your foot (which can be made worse by a shoe that doesn’t offer enough support) and/or overtraining.

Your best bet is to switch to a motion control or thicker shoe and a make sure to stretch out your calf muscles before and after running. Do this by standing with your rear foot approximately two to three feet away from the wall. Your rear leg should be straight, the front leg bent and your hands touching the wall. Your feet should point ahead with heels on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on each leg. Now do the same thing with your rear leg (that was straight) slightly bent at the knee. You should feel this stretch lower down.

5. Plantar fasciitis

Also known as pain in the middle of arch of the foot, plantar fasciitis is a running injury most frequently caused by an abnormal motion of the foot or too-tight calf muscles. Normally, while walking or during long-distance running, your foot will strike the ground on the heel, then roll forward toward your toes and inward to the arch. Your arch should only dip slightly during this motion but if it lowers too much, you have what is known as excessive pronation. What to do? It is usually corrected with an orthotic and calf stretches before and after running.

6. Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a running injury that typically occurs from abnormal foot strokestroke in push-off and too-tight calf muscles. If you are pronating to the side and pulling at an improper angle, it becomes stressed and inflamed. That’s why getting an orthotic to correct the biomechanics of your foot stroke at push-off is key.

7. Muscle Pulls

Whether hamstring, quads, or any other muscle, pulls come from not being flexible and/or overexerting specific muscles. Basically, pulls occur because you haven’t stretched or because you are trying to beat your 18-year-old son in a sprint and you are 45. Pulls are basically small muscle tears, and the best way to treat a pull is to do more stretching before and after a run. To prevent hamstring pulls, place one leg on a chair and get your knee straight and bend over. Hold for 15-20 seconds. For an acute injury, ice and anti-inflammatory medication is helpful.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/ten-common-running-injuries?

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