Running Injuries and common training errors.


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Some runners get discouraged with injury, keep in mind you are not a robot and sometimes you will make mistake in your training regime. This is ok because when you learn from mistakes it will only help your training regime prevail in the future. If you are runner, according to research 79% of you will experience pain at some point. With 46% of you having a reoccurring injury. 

Common Running Injuries:

Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS): 

The kneecap is called a patella in medical terms hence the name of the injury. This is when there is a muscle imbalance in your knee causing the kneecap not to track properly. 

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome: 

Pain in the outside / lateral part of the knee sometimes travelling up the thigh. Overuse of this muscle causes it to tense and pull at it’s insertion. 

Hamstring Strains: 

The hamstring is the muscle at the back of your thigh running just below the glut and attaching to your knee. Many of us have an occupation that requires prolonged sitting. The hamstring will shorten with this prolonged posture. Thus, with inadequate stretching or warm up this could lead to a hamstring strain (“pulled muscle”).

Achilles Tendonitis:

The Achilles is the tendon that Achilles your calf muscles to the heel or foot. If you are training uphill this tendon is on a constant stretch when being used and can result in an overuse injury. Achilles tendonitis can take longer to recover than another typical running injury as the Achilles in everyone naturally has a poor blood supply. 

Stress Fractures:

Stress fractures are tiny breaks in a bone. They’re caused by repetitive force and overuse. Those with poor bone density would be more susceptible to these types of injuries. 

Plantar fasciitis:

Plantar fasciitis is an injury of the plantar fascia, which is the tissue which supports the arch of the foot.  It results in pain in the heel, and/ or bottom of the foot (arch of the foot). Typically, the time of day that is worst for these with this injury is the first steps of the day or following a period of rest. If you are naturally flatter footed (pronator), have inadequate support in your running shoes, and/or have tight calves this could be an injury you could be susceptible to.

Common Training Errors:

1) Too much at once

Rapidly increasing running training volume (amount of kms), frequency (how many times/week) and/or intensity ( km/h or speed ). There is “too much of a good thing.” These sudden increases can quickly result injury. You are asking too much of that musculature when it has not been conditioned yet to do so.

2) Missing a rest day or session

The desire to do more is often very tempting to runners. With the natural endorphin release and other positive feeling hormones being released ie serotonin. Many runners are used to the positive feelings that running produces. Thus, decide to run on a day off or fail to rest when needed ( ie if injured they do more than they should). Endorphins are substances that the body’s central nervous system and pituitary gland produce. Endorphins’ role is to block pain that the body experiences, including pain when running. When runners train they routinely experience positive happy hormone effects, and their pain can be blocked by endorphins. Not running for even a single day can, therefore, be a big challenge.

3) Too much too soon

This can be a downfall of the overzealous novice runner who just wants to achieve their goals faster than they should or than is safe to do so. It can likewise be the downfall of the zealous runner returning from a compulsory rest due to injury. For example, a beginner runner that builds up the duration (and distance) of their training sessions too quickly. Alternately, an experienced runner may increase the overall weekly volume of their training too quickly, from one week to the next in preparation for a marathon. This can often happen when a runner has missed training leading into an event due to illness or injury. When the runner returns to training, they can feel pressure to cram the training that was missed.

4) Too aggressive with consecutive training sessions

Not every training session needs to be an extreme. Runners must learn better self-discipline and vary pace and intensity in training sessions. Often the enthusiasm of training takes hold and self-control, and good reasoning are often forgotten. The result is that every single training session ends up being difficult and excessive.  This can be a pitfall for runners when they train with others. Unfortunately, when training with others, the desire is often present to compete with your training partners. Be careful! Hold each other accountable to stick with the training regime.

5) Introducing hill running into a training program without an adequate regiment

Issues can happen when hills are introduced into a running training program too quickly, or in too large of a volume or frequency. The inclines and declines associated with hills add an increased load and stress to the muscles and joints of the body. A well-structured training program will factor in training that is completed on hills and will make allowances for appropriate recovery after hill running.  The Achilles tendon is a area commonly injured with hill training. For the runner that is well conditioned to hill running, this may be in two days; while for the unaccustomed hill runner, it may require four to five days for adequate recovery. A well formulated training program will allow appropriate recovery time before the runner conquers hills again.

In summary being aware of these training mistakes above will go a long way in prevention of injury, as well, as achieving the goals set out for.

In the training world it is commonly said that ‘evaluated experience, is much more valuable than experience alone’. Therefore, if you have made a mistake be sure to reflect on the mistake, learn from it, and take a committed alternative course of action with your training going forwards. To schedule an appointment or learn more about our services, visit our East St. Paul physiotherapy office today.

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