More than 40 million Americans partake in running, making it one of the most popular ways to improve and maintain fitness. Despite running being a great way to stay in shape, many runners have found themselves at one point or another with a running-related injury. More than 80 percent of running injuries are caused by repetitive stress, but sudden injuries like a sprained ankle or a torn muscle can happen, too.
If you’re like many runners, odds are you’re logging thousands of miles a year from running. All of that running does take a toll on your body from the repeated stress placed on your muscles, joints, and connective tissue.
According to a study done in 2015, the knees, legs, and feet are the most common injury areas for runners. Here is a breakdown of the location-specific injuries:
Knees: 7.2 to 50 percent
Lower leg: 9.0 to 32.2 percent
Upper leg: 3.4 to 38.1 percent
Foot: 5.7 to 39.3 percent
Ankles: 3.9 to 16.6 percent
Hips, pelvis, or groin: 3.3 to 11.5 percent
Lower back: 5.3 to 19.1 percent
Treating Running Injuries
Properly treating running injuries is important if you want to recover and hopefully minimize your chance of getting another injury. If you begin to notice pain while running you’ll want to contact your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
Some common treatment options for running injuries include:
Physical therapy and prescribed exercises
The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
Taking anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin or ibuprofen)
Cutting back on running frequency and distance
Here are treatments for specific running injuries:
Runners knee: Wearing orthotic shoes, stretching your quads, hips, and calves
Ankle sprains: Ankle strengthening exercises
Plantar Fasciitis: Stretching and strengthening the calves
Stress fractures: Crutches, cast, or surgery depending on the severity
Achilles tendonitis: Stretching or massaging the calves
Preventing Running Injuries
Running injuries are common and can happen to essentially anyone, but there are preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk.
Warm-up before your runs
Gradually increase the running frequency and duration of your runs
Improve your running technique
Strengthen your hips
Heal and treat existing injuries
Partake in cross-training
Run on soft surfaces
The Bottom Line
Running injuries are nothing to be afraid of and are easily treatable. If you follow a proper training curriculum, stretch, warm-up, and take good care of your body running can be a great way to stay in shape. If you’re experiencing persistent pain while running, please contact us to schedule a consultation.