Five Common Injuries

There are five main injuries that tend to plague runners and walkers. These tend to pop up when we start asking our bodies to do more than it is accustomed. Learning about these ailments can help us prevent them or take care of them.

As always, consult your doctor about any injuries you may be experiencing. But it can sometimes help to talk to one of our Red Hats about anything that’s bugging you, too. They all have been running or walking long enough to experience at least one of these.

IT Band Syndrome
This presents itself as a sharp pain on the outside of the knee. But the culprit is up near the hip. The iliotibial band runs up the outside of your leg. Prevention includes wearing the right shoes, staying on flat surfaces instead of running the road camber, and adding some trail running or other softer surfaces to your schedule instead of always concrete. Treatment includes icing, stretching, and some time off. Massage does wonders.
Learn more on the IT Band Syndrome on the Runner’s World website.

Shin Splints
Pain on the front of your shins might be shin splints. It is important to differentiate between two other potential concerns — compartment syndrome or stress fracture. All of these are often the result of too much too soon. Rest, ice, and stretching can help, but rest is the primary component.
Learn more on the Shin Splints on the Runner’s World website.

Plantar Fasciitis
This pain occurs underneath your foot and is an injury to the connective tissues that run from your heel to the ball of your foot. It often is most painful when you first get out of bed in the morning and put your weight on your foot. Like the rest, it can be caused by increasing your mileage to significantly, but can also happen with a tight Achilles tendon, the onset of speed training, or incorrect shoes. My favorite remedy is placing a golf ball by the side of your bed. Before putting any weight on your feet, swing your legs over and gently massage the underside of your foot with the golf ball. Increase pressure as much as you can stand. This helps “warm up” your feet for the day.
Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis on the Runner’s World website.

Achilles Tendonitis
This dull or sharp pain is felt on the back of the heel or up the back of the leg. It occurs when the tendon connecting the heel with the calf muscle becomes irritated and inflamed. Rest, ice, and massage are good solutions once the pain starts. Get your shoes checked, stretch regularly, and ease back into running once you get this under control.
Learn more about Achilles Tendonitis on the Runner’s World website.

Runner’s Knee
Runner’s Knee earned its name because it’s a common ailment for runner’s. It’s a dull or sharp pair under or in front of the kneecap, but sometimes it shows up behind the knee. It actually occurs more often to women because of their wider hips and increased angle from hip to knee — so it can be a biomechanical or muscular issue. Hill work can be the instigator, or it can be hard surfaces or improper shoes. Use shorter strides when running up or down hill and be careful on stairs.
Learn more about Runner’s Knee on the Runner’s World website.

Runner’s World magazine is a fantastic source of information about these and other running and walking injuries. Check it out!