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Running Injuries: How To Treat And Prevent Them

When you engage in sports, there is always a risk of getting an injury. This especially holds true for running, which is considered as the worlds most accessible sport. This risk can be reduced by taking preventive measures, though.

When you take on a running programme, there are general pieces of advice that you can use to reduce your chances of getting injuries. These include:

  • choosing the appropriate shoes for your particular running style;
  • stretching regularly before and after running;
  • warming up gradually;
  • increasing distances gradually;
  • avoiding over training;
  • running on various surfaces (to be done gradually);
  • alternating your training days;
  • drinking a lot of fluids every day; and
  • listening to your body all the time.

Furthermore, here are some treatment and prevention advice on specific serious injuries associated with running.

Calcaneal Bursa

Characterised by inflammation at the back of the heel bone, Calcaneal bursa causes its sufferers to experience pain after waking in the morning; this pain may last up to 30 minutes or throughout the day even. There are instances when the swelling becomes so hard that it feels like a bone. In extreme cases, a bony overgrowth can take place.

Using anti-inflammatory medication can reduce the swelling. A cortisone injection into the bursa (a small sack of fluid between the heel bone and the fat pad that gives cushioning and lubrication to the area) may alleviate the pain. However, surgery may be needed to remove the bursa and excess bone.

To prevent it from taking place, wear running shoes that give sufficient shock absorption in the heels and that have side to side support. Also, on a day to day basis, avoid using heels that are higher than one to one and a half inches. When you wish to increase distances, see to it that you do it gradually.

March Fracture

Also known as fatigue fracture or stress fracture of the metatarsal bone, a March fracture is a stress fracture of the second or at times third metatarsal (metatarsal bones are a group of five long bones in the foot). Generally, this is caused by an increase in activity levels. It causes pain in the middle of the long bone of your foot, which can be aggravated as you run further.

Its treatment includes rest and decrease in movements for six to twelve weeks. And, instead of running, try swimming or cycling to lower the impact on the area.

To prevent this injury, ease into running and follow a well-balanced programme. Also, listening to your body is essential. Feeling pain in your bones or joints is a signal that you need to hold back on your training for some time.

Plantar Fasciitis

Caused by an abnormal landing foot position or the calf muscles being too tight, plantar fasciitis is a pain in the middle of the sole of the foot. This pain worsens when you are running or walking. While you will not see any inflammation, you will feel some pain if you press the underside of your heel.

Ice and good heel cushioning can help alleviate the pain. It can be treated by gently rolling the heel over a golf ball. You will see great improvements when correctly fitted orthotics are used. However, in severe cases, hydrocortisone or similar steroidal injection may be necessary.

Plantar fasciitis can be prevented by choosing correctly fitting shoes and gradually increasing activity levels.

For a few more tips on preventing running injuries :

Achilles Tendonitis

Found at the back of the heel, the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel. When you run regularly, the tendon has to work hard, which can then cause injury to the area. The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include discomfort when standing on your toes and a pain that can be from fatigue in the calf muscle and nerve damage.

Applying ice immediately can reduce inflammation. Stretching the area out gently throughout the day can prevent tendon shortening. Anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, and rest may also be needed.

To prevent Achilles tendonitis, do warm up exercises properly and stretch out after a run. Distances and intensities should be increased gradually. Having shoes that provide proper support and shock absorption can also reduce the risk of this injury from taking place.

In summary, injuries may come with engaging in sports such as running, but they can be prevented. Small details like warming up before and stretching after a run can spell the difference between getting injured and progressing in your training, so do not take them for granted.

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