Did you know that running is one of the most popular athletic activities in the world? In fact, nearly 60 million Americans participated in jogging, running, and trail running in 2017 alone. It’s hard to resist the allure of this activity. After all, you can do it alone or in groups, casually or competitively, for fun or fitness, and you don’t need to break the bank to get started.
However, running can come with a downside — running-related injuries. Research indicates that these problems affect 39.7% of women and 34.3% of men. While the risks are slightly higher for women, anyone can find themselves dealing with the consequences of a running injury, leading to acute or chronic pain.
But you don’t have to wait for injury to strike. Instead, you can learn how to avoid them by examining the causes, types, and ways to prevent them.
If you’re experiencing pain from running or other athletic activities, the skilled team at LA Orthopaedic Specialists in Downtown Los Angeles can help you get back on your feet.
Common causes of running injuries
Most running injuries develop from one or more of the following factors:
- Wearing the wrong shoes
- Improper running technique
- Poor form and posture
- Repetitive stress
- Changing your regimen without adequate preparation
Any of these factors can easily lead to injuries in your legs, feet, or both.
The most common running injuries
Running injuries can affect any part of your musculoskeletal tissue, from your bones and joints to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The most common running-related injuries our team treats include:
This is an overuse injury that often happens when the kneecap is out of alignment.
This injury consists of inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which causes pain and stiffness.
Iliotibial band syndrome
With this condition, there’s pain and inflammation in the Iliotibial band, which is a thick band of tissue that starts at the hip and runs along the outer thigh.
This is a condition in which there’s inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toe.
This is a condition in which there is pain in the front or the side of the shin bone, and it most often occurs due to workout changes.
These injuries are small, painful cracks in the bones of the shins or feet, and they typically develop from being overworked when adjusting to a new regimen.
How to prevent running injuries
qWhen it comes to running injuries, the good news is you can often avoid them by taking the right precautions. Our team recommends following these five basic steps to help prevent incurring running-related injuries:
1. Don’t skip warm-ups
Warm-ups can feel like a waste of time when a great run is waiting. However, your body needs time to prepare for a run, and starting without warming up is a surefire path injury. Play it safe by stretching and walking to prime your body before you pound the pavement.
2. Wear the right footwear
You don’t need a lot of fancy gear to take up running, but wearing proper footwear is a must. Make sure your socks and shoes fit your feet right (use orthotic inserts if necessary), and be sure to change out footwear when it wears down. Otherwise, you could sabotage your run before it even starts.
3. Watch the weather
Before you hit the trail or track, don’t forget to check the weather so you can prepare for the conditions. This simple step can help you avoid overheating, overtaxing your system, or getting sick. You should also avoid running in extremely hot weather (over 90 degrees) and if it’s below freezing.
4. Put a plan in place
Are you running to get in shape or stay that way? Jot down your goals so you know exactly what you want to accomplish, and then create a plan to target that goal. If you need extra help, look for a trainer who specializes in running.
But, whether you have help or go at it solo, your personal plan can help you outline the gear you should wear, how you should warm up, how hard you can safely train, and what conditions you can do it in.
5. Keep yourself hydrated
Water always does a body good, but it’s even more important with physical activity. Generally speaking, you should drink 4-6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes.
If you want more information on running safely, or if you have an injury related to running or another sport, we can give you the help you need. To learn more, call 213-455-8448 or book an appointment online with LA Orthopaedic Specialists today.