Running is a great physical activity, and those who enjoy it often push through multiple injuries in order to keep participating in a sport they love. Just about any runner you talk to has some type of injury, but the good news is most runners are also warding off a multitude of other health issues by staying active, and there are also advanced ways to treat and prevent runners’ ailments in today’s day and age. Prevention is important for runners, so investing in a good pair of shoes, running on soft surfaces, stretching, and paying attention to your body’s cues are all important preventative measures to keep runners strong and healthy. Here are a few common runners’ ailments and some ways to treat them.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and heredity also plays a role in a person’s susceptibility to it. It is also largely influenced by the amount of running a person does, and the terrain a runner usually runs on. Overuse is a large cause of knee pain, as well as twisting it from landing at an odd angle while running, weak muscles, or even problems with your feet. Your body is all interconnected, so little misalignments can have large impact, especially when you are repeating movements over time. You may experience pain behind the kneecap, pain when you bend the knee, pain that’s worse when you’re walking downhill, swelling, or popping sensations in the knee. Talk to a doctor or physical therapist to find out what treatments may help you most. Resting, icing, elevating, and compressing may be important elements of recovery.
Foot pain is common with runners, especially those who run long distances and train for long periods of time. Any runner will tell you that the most important thing you need is a good pair of shoes. Don’t skimp on your shoes, and be sure to replace them regularly in order to protect your feet. If you’re experiencing foot pain, you may need to go get a professional fitting and try insoles, or a new pair of shoes. If you have high arches, it’s especially important to choose shoes that protect the middle muscles in your feet. If you’re experiencing excessive foot pain, talk to a doctor or physical therapist to find out if you need treatment.
Shin splints can develop when you push yourself too much, too soon. Worn out shoes and inadequate stretching are common causes. Be sure to purchase good shoes, and stretch well after each workout. Listen to your body as you exercise – it will tell you when you are pushing too hard. Learn to distinguish the difference between being uncomfortable and being in pain. If you are in pain, you should stop. Stretching and icing should help alleviate the pain of shin splits. Talk to a physical therapist for specific stretches and remedies that may help you heal.