So you’ve decided that 2016 is your year to get into running. Go you! But before you sign up for a crazy creative race, make sure you’re properly suited up (hello, DIY running belt!) and stretched. Injuries can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. From coming out of the gate too hot to choosing the right sneakers, we’ve broken down all the deets on five of the most common running injuries to help you train hard and stay healthy.
1. Shin Splints: These are every new runner’s nightmare. Typically seen in runners who add on too much mileage too early in their training, shin splints are most commonly identified as tenderness along your shin bone. They unfortunately account for up to 16 percent of all injuries in runners. The best fix is rest and ice. Back down your mileage, look into purchasing new shoes and consider adding in a day or two of cross training to give your bones (and muscles!) a chance to recover. Dr. Josh Sandell, chief clinical officer of Orthology, INC suggests increasing mileage by 10 percent a week in order to reduce the risk for injury.
2. Stress Fractures: These real-deal tiny fractures in your bone are most commonly found in your tibia, fibula or foot. A key sign to distinguish stress fractures from shin splints is the timing of your pain. If you’re experiencing discomfort in everyday life, in addition to your workouts, you may be dealing with a stress fracture. Unfortunately, the best recovery for fractures is rest, and lots of it. Expect to be out six to eight weeks and be ready to rock a walking boot.
3. Planter Fasciitis: Your planter fascia is a thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to your toes. When this band gets inflamed, sometimes due to tight calf muscles or a high arch, runners can experience a stabbing pain on the bottom of their foot, near their heel, while running. Try this trick: While standing, massage your foot on a tennis ball. This will help break up the inflammation and strengthen the tissue. If that doesn’t help, look into new running shoes, Dr. Sandell suggests, changing them between 300-500 miles, or talk to your doctor about custom orthotics.
4. Achilles Tendinitis: Your Achilles is a large tendon that connects your two major calf muscles. When that tendon is overworked, usually with a sudden increase in activity or because said calf muscles are fatigued, runners can start to feel a stinging pain close to their heel. Like with shin splints, back off your training if you start to experience pain in your Achilles. Ice regularly and be sure to stretch your calf muscles every day.
5. Runner’s Knee: With a name like runner’s knee, you know this one is common amongst the crowd. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to runner’s knee either. Joggers can experience sharp and sudden or dull and daunting pain in one or both knees, but it typically always comes down to there being too much pressure on your kneecap. Again, cut down on mileage, try to stay on flat routes and make sure you’re stretching and strengthening your quads and hamstrings to help support the additional weight placed on the kneecap. A lightweight band can be worn under your kneecap to help reduce the stress.
Have you experienced one of these injuries? Tweet us your experience at @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)