As a runner, it is possible for injuries to occur. It is important to make sure you are always being as safe as possible.
Perhaps the most common injury that people endure from running is an overall feeling of soreness, caused by overusing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When the muscles, tendons, or ligaments are overstretched, the tissues experience minor damage in the form of microscopic tears. This typically occurs when completing an exercise that the body is not used to, or exercising for the first time after a prolonged period of rest. The soreness may linger for a few days but usually goes away on its own. However, the severity of the damage determines how long the body will need to recover. For more information on how you can prevent severe injuries, contact Fit Physical Therapy today.
What are some common injuries?
At Fit Physical Therapy, our licensed therapists can guide you through proper exercises, stretches, movements, and body control, in order to prevent future injuries from occurring. Many injuries occur due to improper techniques or overexerting your body. Some of the most commonly sustained injuries include:
Nearly every runner has experienced inflammation and pain in the tendons and muscles of the lower leg. Shin splints are more likely to occur after you change your workout routine. Reducing your running, using over-the-counter pain relievers, and icing are all recommended treatments for shin splints.
Officially named patellofemoral pain syndrome, this condition generally refers to the breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap. According to Runner’s World approximately 40 percent of injuries sustained by runners are in the knee. While runner’s knee will often improve on its own, sometimes physical therapy is needed to improve the condition.
This is an injury that occurs in the heal and often results in pain and swelling. Running in old or poor quality shoes can cause this condition. Icing, elevating the foot to reduce swelling, and wearing shoe inserts are treatment options used to improve Achilles tendonitis. It’s also important to remember that strong calves will help to prevent relapses.
Of all the various sports injuries, this is one that not only affects runners but can happen to almost anyone who walks a lot or stands on their feet for extensive periods of time. With this injury you can feel pain throughout the arch or the heal. This injury can often be treated with rest and a better pair of shoes. Shoe inserts may also help.
Many people think “sprains” and “strains” are synonymous; however, they have one distinct difference. Sprains occur when a tendon is stretched beyond its limits or torn, while strains occur when a ligament is stretched beyond its limits or torn. Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bones, and ligaments are tissues that connect bones to one another. Sprains and strains can both range from mild to severe, and even mild ones may take up to 6 weeks to heal. When they become more severe, braces or surgical correction may be necessary. This will require a longer recovery time, up to 8 weeks or longer, and physical therapy treatments will likely be prescribed.
It is important to note that it is in your best interest to have a physical therapist make sure a sprain or strain is fully healed before returning to your normal level of physical activity, as it is common for old sprains and strains to develop again in the future if they have not been properly rehabilitated.
How can I prevent these injuries?
While it is always a wise decision to consult with a physical therapist, there are some tips you can implement into your personal life as well, in order to decrease your risk of sustaining an injury. These include:
This is one of the most important ways to prevent injuries. Your tissues require water in order to be elastic, and stretching helps to bring water into the tissues. This increases muscle flexibility and prevents them from becoming stiff or tight, thus decreasing the chances of them over-stretching and/or tearing.
Hydrating and eating nutritious meals.
Did you know that your body is over 70% water? Because of this, it requires water in order to remain supple and function properly. Without adequate water and nutrition, your body’s tissues are more prone to over-stretching and injury. Make sure you drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, and always keep a water bottle with you when you are working out. If needed, you can also replenish your electrolytes with sports drinks, such as Gatorade.
Staying within your abilities.
It is important to train and practice for any physical activity you’d like to try. Start small in the beginning and build up from there. For example, if you aren’t used to running but you’d like to complete a 5k, don’t start off with 3-mile runs. Begin with a half mile and slowly build up. When you push your body past its current limits, you make yourself more prone to injuries because your body is not prepared for the physical demands being asked of it. A physical therapist can help you understand the limits of your body and can create an exercise plan for you to reach your physical goals.
Using the proper equipment.
When engaging in any type of physical activity, it is important to make sure you have the right equipment. For example, running shoes, hiking boots, helmets, and more can help you avoid injury and stay safe while doing the activities you enjoy. They can make all the difference when it comes to preventing injuries.
What should I do now?
If you are suffering from aches and pains, you think you may have sustained an injury, or you’d like to learn more about injury prevention, contact Fit Physical Therapy today. One of our dedicated physical therapists would be happy to meet with you for a consultation and discuss how our different programs can help you remain active and pain-free!