Training for the Marathon? Do You Have a Running Injury?

Running Injuries

Runners of all experience levels must be aware of running injuries that can occur. A simple injury can worsen quickly if you don’t respond to it. Some of the most common running injuries include

Runners Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a temporary irritation affecting soft cartilage on the underside of the knee. It’s one of the most common knee injuries, which in turn is the most common category of health complaints facing runners.

Runners knee presents as pain in and around the kneecap. It is generally worsened by activity, but may seem to “come and go.” Although it is possible to continue exercising, you should curb intensity and mileage until symptoms subside. It can usually be successfully treated with physical therapy and anti-inflammatories.

Shin Splints

Also known as medial tibia stress syndrome, this condition provokes persistent, aching pain focused around the shin bone, caused by swelling in that area. Shin splints are more likely to occur with new runners who increase speed or intensity too quickly or those that do not have proper shoe wear.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture can afflict any bone when cumulative strain proves too much for it to bear. The shins, heels, and feet are typical areas runners experience them. They cause severe pain with inability to bear weight on the damaged area.

Stress fractures are usually the result of overtraining, and are serious. You should discontinue running and other strenuous exercise until healed, which may take 6-8 weeks. A period of immobilization is usually required. Patients should progress carefully from walking to jogging as recovery continues.

Pulled Muscle

A pulled muscle can be caused by fatigue , overuse, or improper warm up prior to activity and is also referred to as a muscle sprain. The condition comes on suddenly, with pain, soreness, and limited range of motion in the afflicted muscle. There may be bruising, discoloration, and stiffness. In severe cases, spasms occur.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain happens when ligaments that support movement of the ankle stretch beyond capacity and tear. Although it can be mild or severe, it is important to stop running right away. Swelling and stiffness accompany sharp pain, which is worsened by walking.

Signs and Symptoms You May Be Developing a Running Injury

Signs a running injury may be developing or worsening include:

  • Unexplained, potentially mild burning or aching pain that arises during a running session.
  • Long-term stiffness and soreness after running that seems to be growing worse over time.
  • Any sudden onset of sharp low body pain – always a sign you should rest immediately and seek medical advice.

Virtually all running injuries are marked by some degree of localized inflammation, swelling, and discoloration. However, this might not be obvious when an injury is first acquired. Whenever you run – especially at the beginning of a training program – err on the side of caution and seek information on any new symptoms before you continue exercise.

How Can You Prevent Developing Injuries While Running?

  • Pace Yourself: One of the most important things you can do to avoid any exercise injury is be gradual in how you increase pace and intensity. Following a defined training plan can help. In general, give your body time to adjust with step-by-step improvements of no more than 5% and brief “sprints” of 10% compared to your usual speed and duration.
  • Leave Time for Recovery: Recovery time varies according to duration, speed, the terrain traversed (flat vs. hilly) and other factors. Giving your body time to rest and recover ensures that it can resist damage later on.
  • Listen to Your Body: Your body will give you plenty of clues about your endurance, level of recovery, and how you are progressing. Listen to its signals and don’t be afraid to adjust accordingly.

If you think you have a running injury, contact NY Orthopedics today to book an appointment at one of our eight convenient New York City area locations.

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Dr. Jose Rodriguez is no longer practicing at New York Orthopedics as of March 31, 2017. For a full list of our doctors, please visit this page.