Earlier this week in a previous blog, we discussed the importance of making an appointment with your doctor before embarking upon a strenuous exercise routine like marathon running. Your doctor will want to look at your knees, hips and feet to determine if you are more prone to the most common injuries found in long distance runners.
By contacting a doctor in your area, you can learn not only if you are susceptible to these common injuries but also how to prevent these injuries that can sideline you for days, weeks or months.
Shin Splints – this is a common overuse injury. When you overtrain, wear shoes that don’t support your weight and foot plant, or fail to adequately recover from a run, then you most likely will encounter this nagging running injury. Without addressing the problem immediately by decreasing your mileage or taking a bit of time off, you could develop a stress fracture. Track runners swear by Epsom Salts, which are known to reduce swelling. Try adding two cups of Epsom Salts to a full tub of water and consider taking a few days off at the first sign of pain.
You might be prone to shin splints, if you:
• Increase mileage or intensity too quickly
• Run on concrete
• Increase weekly mileage by more than 10 percent per week
• Train in shoes that have not been properly fitted to your specific biomechanics
Plantar Fasciitis – the thick tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot can cause pain and tenderness if it becomes inflamed. Pain experience is typically worse in the morning within the heel area and it gradually subsides throughout the day. Treating plantar fasciitis takes time and may require 6-18 months. Initially, you can use ibuprofen/Motrin or Advil to treat the swelling. Heel stretching exercises and shoe inserts may also help.
You might be prone to plantar fasciitis, if you:
• Run, jump or put excessive pressure on the tissue that can lead to tissue tears
• Suddenly change or increase the difficulty of your run
• Have flat feet, high arches, pronate or have an abnormal gait
Achilles Tendonitis – as the largest and strongest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon stretches from the back of the lower leg and attaches to the heel bone. Occurring in about six to 18 percent of all runners, Achilles Tendonitis can be a debilitating inflammation of the heel cord. As with other conditions that cause inflammation, Achilles Tendonitis can also be treated with ibuprofen/Motrin or Advil to minimize the swelling.
You might be prone to Achilles Tendonitis, if you:
• Do a lot of walking
• Are involved in sports that require a good deal of jumping
• Have poor training techniques, found most common in older adults
• Run on concrete or uneven surfaces
• Inadequately warm-up or have a sudden increase in mileage or intensity
Ankle Sprains – a sprain is a stretched or torn ligament and is most common in the ankle. Signs of an ankle sprain include pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, inability to bear weight on the foot and stiffness. RICE is what you should first think of when you sprain an ankle. That stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
You might be prone to ankle sprains, if you:
• Walk or run on uneven surfaces
• Wear down the outside of your shoes first
• Have weak muscles, are overweight or have decreased sensation in your feet
Blisters – small pockets of fluid in the upper layers of the skin. Blisters can be filled with serum or plasma, as well as blood and pus (common with infections). The friction caused by excessive running can cause blisters to form on the toes, backs of the heels or anywhere on the feet. The fluid cushions the tissue underneath the blister so it’s important that you resist the urge to expel the fluid inside.
You might be prone to blisters, if you:
• Wear shoes that are too tight or too short
• Do not wear socks
• Run in shoes that are wet – thus increasing friction that will cause blistering