Today, running is considered one the most popular exercises because of how convenient it is to get started and how little equipment is needed to do so. However, the lack of stretching and warm up may still cause some major injuries for inexperienced or careless runners. In this blog, we’ll explain the most common running injuries and what to do for immediate pain relief.
1. Hamstring muscle strain – It’s often caused by the overuse or repeated force on an unprepared hamstring muscle over a long period of time. The injuries involving this group can be an issue of flexibility or strength if not treated properly. This often occurs when you do not adequately stretch before running.
2. Iliotibial band syndrome – This happens when the IT band (the muscle running on the outside of the thigh) stiffen and rubs against the knee bone, causing inflammation and pain on the outside of the knee while running. This often occurred in inexperienced runner who do not stretch their IT band properly.
3. Runner’s knee – This is a common running injury related to overdoing it. Despite adequate stretching, runner’s knee can still occur. It has several different causes such as running downhill, muscle imbalances, or weak hips that can put extra stress on the kneecap resulting in pain around the area. Taping your knee or using a knee brace may help reduce the pain.
4. Shin splint – This is the pain that happens in the front or inside of the lower leg muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed. Shin splints are common after changing your workout, such as running longer distances or increasing the number of days you run too quickly.
5. Plantar fasciitis – This injury involves small tears and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments of the foot, from the heel into the arch. People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis so stretching calf muscle before running is the right way to go.
6. Achilles tendinitis – This injury happens when Achilles tendon comes under too much stress, the tendon tightens up and gets irritated, leading to pain and stiffness in the area of the tendon, especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the tendon. Tight or inflexible calf muscles can also contribute to this injury.
Basically, when your leg muscles have been worked a lot, they running injuries occur very easily. These types of running injuries occur even more to those who exert a lot of effort in their runs and keep the intensity level high, especially to some that practice HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). These injuries occur even in athletes who regularly run and have well-trained legs. The muscle strain results from tearing, pulling, and shearing forces on the muscle. Running injuries can also lead to tendon or ligament injury if untreated, as the muscles affected are always connected to them. People who suffer from this condition usually complain about the pain at the injured site, but sometimes you might not get visual cues just from looking at your leg. Inflammation signs such as redness, warm skin only takes place depending on the severity of the condition.
So, what should we do to relieve pain from running injuries?
Technically, muscle strain is an acute injury so the treatment should be done by following one or more of the following:
- Taking medicine to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Using “PRICE” strategies
- P = Protection to prevent for further injury.
- R = Rest for any activities that provoke the muscle and let them in healing process
- I = Ice, pressing ice or cold object upon the injured area to reduce inflammation and pain
- C = Compression with bandage to reduce swelling and also support muscle avoiding overuse of muscle
- E = Elevate injury site to decrease swelling by return the fluid into venous system
- Consulting with a physiotherapist to further asses the injury.
Here is a really informative video from the Mayo Clinic that greatly summarizes the PRICE strategy for first aid:
Anywhere, physiotherapy machines such as cryo-cuff, ultrasound, laser, TENS, high-voltage, and other electrotherapy can be used to accelerate healing process of the tissue into normal/closely normal condition again. If you are in need of assistance, come on down to Pain Away Clinic Bangkok. We’d be happy to help!