The most basic of all physical activities, running, is practiced by millions across the globe. Whether you sprint while a teenager or you jog through the park after 30, the risk of injury increases with every run.
After feeling the pain for the first time, novice runners are in a dilemma whether to shake off the injury or to take a rest from running for a while. Knowing the basics about running injuries can help you make the right decision without jeopardizing your athletic record or even worse, your health.
No walking, no running
The most general rule for staying safe while running states that if you cannot walk after an injury, you shouldn’t run either. Namely, pain might be discomforting but it’s the best signal your body can send that something is seriously wrong.
Immediately make a pause
The second you feel the pain, you should cease running. Stopping immediately will prevent you from aggravating a serious injury, saving you months of recovery. After you stop, you should stretch for a bit and then pace up and down a couple of meters to see the state of your leg or foot. When in a race, return to the track slowly, slowing down the tempo.
Does it hurt the next day?
The body’s natural reaction to an injury is increased blood flow to the troubled area. This causes redness and warmth around the injury zone, making you not feel any pain at first. However, as the area cools down, you’ll experience pain in the hours after the injury.
This is perfectly normal even for minor injuries but if the pain persists or intensifies the next day, then drop running for a while and see a physician or an orthopedist. In order to prevent major injuries, you should rest your foot as soon as you get back home.
Apply ice and elevate the leg to stop the blood from “pouring” down into the troubled area and intensifying the pain.
The most common injury: A twisted ankle
If you are running on uneven ground, then you are highly likely to suffer a twisted ankle. This injury is common among runners, even if they don’t feel the pain at first, due to endorphin, as explained earlier,
No matter how brave you are, continuing to run on a twisted ankle will cause further damage to ligaments, so stop moving immediately. Prolonged rest, ice packs, and compression are the best remedies for a twisted ankle.
An injury common to runners, soldiers, and dancers is splitting their shins. The tibial stress syndrome occurs when a person changes their workout routine rapidly or they engage in high-intensity training after a period of inactivity. Their bones, tendons, and muscles simply cannot withstand the forces applied and they split in the shin area. Recovery includes booking an appointment with a medical service such as Vitalis Physiotherapy where you’ll receive a treatment plan after the doctor assesses the extent of your injury.
What if your knee starts to hurt?
Our limbs are most vulnerable at the joints and knees are delicate in particular. That’s why runners often experience a painful dull sensation underneath the kneecap, caused by a muscle imbalance. Running on hard surfaces is one of the main causes of the condition, so switch to softer surfaces, such as the ground.
Sometimes, uncomfortable footwear is behind a perfidious pain in the knee, so invest in running gear. Apart from the sneakers selection, your running style could be all wrong, causing you to thread unevenly and twisting your kneecap muscles in the process.
Excessive muscle pain
Running long distances, such as a marathon can often muscle cramps. These are nothing to worry about, as they go away after a couple of minutes’ rest and a massage. We don’t need to tell you that rehydration is crucial, so always carry a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
If you experience a sudden tightness, then you need to stop and stretch the muscle before returning to the race. However, limping is a sign you’ve torn the muscle, so you should quit the race and take a long walk home to rest.
Less sunlight, more water
As mentioned earlier, dehydration is a contributing factor to most running injuries, so a bottle of water should be mandatory. Furthermore, running in a hot climate means that you are at constant risk of sunstroke, so wear a cap as pro runners do.
What if you feel light faintness while running?
Although it’s not a common occurrence (luckily), you could feel a slight faintness when running. Technically, this doesn’t constitute an injury but dizziness can still bring you down, quite literally. You will faintness when your brain is deprived of oxygen, so you need to adopt proper breathing techniques.
If the faintness won’t go away, feel free to lie down with your legs up to allow the blood to flow to your brain. If available, snack on a high-energy food and drink some water. These are all measures to prevent a collapse, preceded by strong dizziness and/or chest pain.
Once you inform yourself about the most common running injuries and their respective or joint (no pun intended) causes, you can prevent them. Good-quality running shoes, sufficient water intake, and a trustworthy physician are the safest path to take when it comes to your running routine.