Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dealing With The Common Running Injuries

By Alexandra Anderson

Heath experts advise that running is beneficial in preventing many diseases and medical conditions. Other than the fitness reasons, there are millions of athletes all over the world who take part in competitive running. Regardless of the reasons as to why one decides to run, there is a chance that they will be involved in one type of injury or the other. Luckily, there are solutions to the common running injuries that have been identified.

The patellofemoral pain syndrome also known as the runners knee is a collection of symptoms that are caused by injury to the ligament underneath the knee cap. The pain often flares up when one sits down for extended periods or when descending a hill or a flight of stairs. Risk factors include weakness of hips, gluteal and quadriceps muscles. Although they do not prevent one from running taking rests on alternate days is highly recommended. Bicycling may strengthen the weak muscles and improve recovery.

The Achilles tendon joins the calf muscles, (the right and left gastrocnemius) to the heel. When it undergoes stress, the tendon tightens and is irritated. It frequently occurs in athletes with weak calves who increase the duration and training intensity suddenly. When one experiences this kind of pain, they are advised to stay away from training for a few days so that healing can take place. Compression stockings have been successful in some people.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (or ITBS) occurs in 12% of the injuries and is a recurrent problem in 14% of runners. The injury occurs due to constant rubbing of the iliotibial band against the side of the femur. It is more likely to occur in individuals that are involved in a lot of track activities and downhill running. Weak gluteal muscles and hip abductors are also a major contributor. A long term solution is to strengthen the weak muscles.

Plantar Fasciitis comes about as a result of injury to the tendons and ligaments that connect the heel to the toes. Runners often experience a dull ache along the arch of the heel particularly in the morning. Predisposing factors include very low or very high arches, extreme pronation or supination actions and rapid increase of mileage. Long standing hours exacerbate the problem. Rolling the foot in frozen water and using proper shoes offers some relief.

Hamstring Injuries are a common complaint not just for runners but for many other athletes. The commonest complaint is weakness which may result from their being too short or too long. Sudden onset of strong pain calls for extended periods of rest before one can run again. Less severe ones may permit running but one may need to consider bicycling, swimming and pool running as alternatives.

Shinsplints or medial tibial stress syndrome is caused by tears in the muscles around the tibia. It is most likely to affect new runners or those who have been inactive for prolonged periods of time. High arches, flat feet and wrong shoes are other contributing factors. A solution of the problem is to reduce the mileage to a comfortable level. If the pain is too much painkillers such as ibuprofen can be used.

Many athletes often suffer stress fractures. This is because persistent strain on various bones such as the tibia, the metatarsals and the calcaneus among others. It occurs when training intensity is increased too soon before the bones have recovered from the effects of previous workout. Just like many of the other common running injuries adequate rest is recommended.

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