Top 5 things you must know about running injuries

In Nov 2019 I underwent an arthroscopy surgery to fix a torn medial meniscus on my right knee due to an exercise trauma. I’ve been off running for more than 7 months and It has been a transformational experience for me to battle through this recovery period.

Running has positive effects on health and fitness [1]Training errors and running related injuries: A systematic review. However, running injuries are very common and almost 85% of the runners are found to be victims of running injuries. Any runner who is more aware can avoid or fight injuries confidently. Since 2011, I have battled many injuries and certainly become more aware of what causes them.

As soon as possible after an injury, such as a knee or ankle sprain, you can relieve pain and swelling and promote healing and flexibility with RICE, says Michigan Medicine. [2]Michigan Medicine: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE). Another way to treat injuries is by using NSAIDS after getting a dosage prescribed by your doctor [3]Michigan Medicine: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain and fever and to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by injury

  1. Find the root cause of your injury and fix your training: Finding the root cause of these injuries is the key to avoiding them. Battling injuries is a tough mental game and it is said that runners become tougher and mentally strong if they fight through the injury phase successfully [4]10 Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment. Knowing the root cause of your problem is equivalent to solving 50% of the problem. Consult with a knowledgeable running coach or a sports physio who is also a runner (preferably) who can relate to your issue and help you. Once you know the root cause your training program must be designed to avoid them. For example, any runner wants to perform must focus on spending adequate time in building stability, improving movement efficiency, building strength, developing power and finally focusing and fine-tuning performance parameters.
  2. Too much too soon and too fast: As a coach, I regularly have to deal with injured clients. Many injuries are due to poor choice of footwear, muscular imbalances or poor biomechanics. As a runner, I had made mistakes in my own training in the past. Suddenly running on trail routes and new terrains (or hills) can lead to new injuries. Runners often get injured when they are either too obsessed with running or over-ambitious about achieving their goals. Injury is also inevitable when someone is running too fast, too soon and too much (overtraining).
  3. 5 common running injuries: While there are many different types of injuries runners experience I have listed the most common ones here [5]Preventing Running Injuries
    • Runners’ kneethe pain builds up gradually and is usually located beneath or around the kneecap. This is a very typical overuse injury and also can be due to wearing worn-out shoes.
    • IT Band syndromepain on the lateral (outside) of the knee while running. Another overuse injury commonly experienced by runners who run on uneven roads and one side of the roads which has camber in it.
    • Plantar fasciitis the primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is a pain in the bottom of the foot, from the heel into the arch. It is especially painful when you get up in the morning and after you have been sitting for a long time.
    • Calf strain and Achilles tendinitispain with a heel strike, pain when the foot lands on a curb when running up the stairs, or with a sudden change of direction. Pain may be more prominent in the morning with the first few steps out of bed. Check your running form, you can pick up this injury if you have any mobility issue at your ankle and tight calf/soleus muscles. Many runners who increase suddenly their plyometric jumps may also irritate their Achilles tendon.
    • Shin splintspain in the shin while running. A common running injury faced by many beginners.
  4. Have a realistic goal: I always had a successful and injury-free running season whenever I had a realistic goal, with the proper balance of exercise type, volume, intensity, and specificity which is approached with a lot of patience. Runners must develop a “one step at a time and one day at a time” for a successful and lifelong injury-free running journey.
  5. Injury can strike you at any time: Be aware of this fact and better prepared to pick a fight with it. Accept the fact that you are injured and get ready to mentally challenge it. Take extra precautions and preventive measures to avoid injuries. Also, focus on reconstructing your foundation, build core strength, build proprioception/stability, improve your range of motion at the hip, ankle or even upper body strength. Engaging in an alternate non-impact sport or getting back to your art project during your injury phase could help you stay focused on other interesting topics. Never let the monkey mind take control of your emotional well being.

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