Now that it is Springtime in the southern hemisphere, it is typical for most people to want to shed the extra weight that they may have put on over the winter months. It has been my experience in dealing with patients on a regular basis, that moderation is key and a plan and specific goals to work toward achieving helps assist in a successful springtime exercise program. The other key to remember is what you eat. Exercise without watching what goes in the mouth, will not bring the health benefits as doing both. Same with only watching what you eat, without exercising. The two go hand in hand.
One big exercise that is commonly chosen is running. I have heard people say that they’ll take that up and get out in the fresh air, and the weight will drop, and it will look after itself.
Wrong! Running to lose weight and/or keep fit can invariably lead to running injuries. I highly recommend educating yourself, doing some ‘homework’ and getting informed on some of the possible injuries associated with running. Then make a wise and informed decision if running is the best option for you.
Many Running Injuries Are Caused By Overuse
When you think about taking up running, or just starting to run, it’s best to learn how to prevent running injuries.
The Most Common Running Injuries
• ITB (Iliotibial Band)
Chondromalacia, or Runner’s Knee is due to wearing of the cartilage under the patella (kneecap) when the patella is tracked incorrectly while running, causing pain in the knee.
Lateral or side knee pain is usually due to Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome. This band runs from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee and inserts just below the knee. The ITB is meant to stabilize the knee while running. If this gets irritated, it can get inflamed and cause pain in the knee or band itself. This leads to ITB Syndrome.
Another contributor to knee pain as well as foot pain, is Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the thick fibrous connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. It’s job is to absorb the shock of the running motion. Plantar fasciitis is when this tissue gets inflamed due to wear and tear, resulting in pain. This can be temporary or a long-term problem.
Shin splints are usually caused by stepping up the volume of training too quickly. Achilles tendonitis can cause leg pain and or ankle pain, and may eventually lead to rupture of the tendon itself.
Running May Lead To Back & Pelvis Injuries
Besides the injuries listed above, some runners may suffer from acute back pain, pelvis or hip pain, groin pain, and chronic back pain. Running can also irritate the discs in the lower back, which may lead to things such as Sciatica.
Running Injuries Take Long To Heal
Running injuries may take months, or even longer to heal, easily putting fitness and weight loss programs on the back burner. There are also the injuries that may lead to other problems that cause long term effects that can irritate other areas of the body. I believe that it is wise to learn about the preventative measures so that we can make better choices and better decisions on the type of exercise we undertake.
Running for exercise is not for everyone – but if you currently run, or are thinking of taking up running for exercise, then the following may be of benefit to you:
Useful Tips For Preventing Running Injuries
1. Strengthen the areas which are vulnerable.
2. Buy and utilize the correct footwear.
3. Use the Correct running posture
4. Warm up before your running workout.
5. Gradually step up your running program.
6. Cool down appropriately to minimize stiffness and soreness.
Check with a health professional such as a chiropractor or sports massage therapist for advice that is unique to your specific needs. Each body is different, so to adopt generic advice is not wise, nor will it assist in prevention or overall achieving of goals.
Preventing injuries involves listening to your body and basic common sense, so make sure that is Number One on your list!