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May 25, 2017 - 11:30 AM  
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Running Tips - Injury and Illness

Running Tips - Injury and Illness

Contents Basics Intervals Injury Other Factors RaceDay Internet Index Forums

Classes Common Injuries Runners Knee Shin Splints Back Pain
Colds and Flu Achilles Tendonitis Stress Fracture Ankle Sprain To Avoid
Other Causes        

Once you start trying to improve for a competition or a race there is always a danger of injury or illness occurring which is caused by training. As mentioned in the 'Training Basics' handout you go through a cycle of breakdown and repair during hard training. If the breakdown becomes to much for the body to repair you may become injured or ill. This handout will try and help you avoid some of the common traps in this regard. First there is a section on the classes of injuries, this is followed by a description of the most common injuries and the last section describes some of the common injury/illness causes.

Classes of Injuries

There are two major injury classes. They are Acute injuries and Overuse injuries. Acute injuries occur suddenly and are the result of a rapid increase in stress on a particular bodily system. These are more common in sports where rapid changes in direction occur, for example tennis, squash ,football etc and include things like sprains, broken bones-ligaments-tendons, bruises etc. Something happens where a part of the body (like a muscle) is put under a great deal of stress for a short period of time and it breaks, snaps or tears.

Overuse injuries on the other hand are caused by a gradual breakdown in the bodily system you are using. Training breaks it down a little and there is not enough time for repair. The next time you train it breaks down some more. Eventually it gets sore then it fails. This can occur in almost all of the same areas as chronic injuries. One of the major causes is imbalances between the two sides off the body. This may put the left or right side under more stress than the other. The weaker side needs more rest but doesn't get it so eventually it protests then gives way.

Combinations of the two are also common. Especially where overuse has created a weaker system which is suddenly put under acute stress. Training involves plenty of stress so we should constantly be on the look-out for any message from our body.

Common Injuries for Runners

The next two sections will be in point form as there is much information to provide. Please remember with any injury a Doctor (especially specialising in Sports) will give the best advice.

Runner's Knee

  • most common injury from running primarily caused by muscle imbalance.
  • treatment RICE(Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) 10 minutes after running
  • prevention strengthen quadricep (muscles in front of upper leg), flexibility of opposing muscles (hamstring, calf), arch supports.

Cold and Flu

  • the immune system is built up by exercise but strenuous exercise (eg a marathon) can deplete it after the exercise. This can make you prone to colds and flu.
  • treatment flu-(you won't want to run) bed and doctor, cold-don't run or take it easy
  • prevention vitamin C, sleep, rest, diet, don't get near people with colds after marathons

Achilles Tendonitis

  • the Achilles tendon on the back of the foot above the heel common suffer damage or become inflamed
  • treatment RICE(wait 10 mins), do not stretch until there is no pain then gentle stretching, no hill work and maybe elevate the heel.
  • prevention orthotics, running surface, speed/hill sessions on cold tendon.

Shin Splints

  • tenderness/pain on the front and slightly to the side of the lower leg
  • treatment RICE(wait 10 mins), no hills especially down hill, no speedwork
  • prevention strengthen muscles around shins, orthotics, leg length differences, avoid banked surfaces

Stress Fracture

  • diagnosed by doctor, - rest, no running for 6-8 week.

Back Pain

  • prevention leg length differences, shorten stride, strong abdominals, stretch, meditation, avoid hills, banked surfaces

Ankle Sprain

  • treatment RICE (Rest,Ice,Compression,Elevation) followed by 15mins on/off ice pack

Causes of Injuries (What to Avoid)

One of the most common causes of injury is a change in the current activity you are doing. Any change can stress your body's systems and should be taken with care. Some of the more common changes are:-

  • running surface (cement or concrete harder than asphalt harder than grass harder than sand)
  • running faster
  • running on hills (especially downhill)
  • running shoes (change after 800km)
  • running too much
  • sudden increase in distance

Other factors which can cause injury are

  • lack of sleep
  • poor diet
  • unequal leg length
  • old or not properly healed injuries
  • poor muscle strength or muscle imbalance
  • not enough recovery
  • weather (especially extreme heat or cold)
  • poor shoe fit, or you require orthotics
  • too heavy
  • general stress
  • other sports
  • age


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