12 common running injuries…

I’ve noticed a lot of people searching for injuries and ending up on my site, so I thought I would provide a little more information on where I look for information on injuries and provide some information on some common injuries.

And I’m currently dealing with an injury in my IT band 😦 , so I thought now would be a good time to get this information down for reference.

Here is a good website with lots of information on sports injuries:

 http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/

And here is a run down of some common injuries, their causes and how you can treat them:

ACHILLES TENDONITIS

DESCRIPTION

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the thick tendon that runs from your heel to your calf muscle. This tendon works strongly in the push off and foot plant phase of the running stride.

SYMPTOMS

Tendonitis is classified as grades one through four. In grade one, mild pain is felt around the tendon and is usually felt only after the activity. There is no swelling and range of motion is normal. In grade two the pain is moderate and is felt both before and after the activity. There may be some swelling. Grade three tendonitis is characterised by more severe pain that is felt at all times. The activity becomes difficult to continue. Swelling is usually present and range of motion is limited. With grade four tendonitis the pain is severe and running becomes nearly impossible. Range of motion is limited.

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. Pain will be mild in the early stages and gradually becomes more severe until continued running is impossible. There may be a creaking sensation in the tendon.

CAUSES

Repetitive contractions of the calf muscle, such as running, is the usual cause of this injury. A sudden increase in volume is often the cause. Weak or tight calf muscles, excessive pronation (rolling in of the feet) and worn running shoes can also contribute to the chances of suffering this injury.

TREATMENT

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
Rest the injury as much as possible.
 Apply ice 5 times a day for around 15 minutes.
Compression in the form of a wrap will help support the tendon and help keep inflammation down.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
After the first 3 days, apply moist heat to the area instead of ice.
Consult your doctor.
Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

 

ACHILLES TENDON STRAIN

DESCRIPTION
 
An Achilles tendon strain is a stretch, tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the thick tendon that runs from your heel to your calf muscle.

Strains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree strain – A tearing of less than 25% of the tendon. This is characterised by mild pain and may not be felt until the day after the injury.

Second-degree strain – A tearing of 25% to 75% of the tendon. Pain is more sever and is felt immediately upon suffering the injury. Discoloration may occur. Walking and standing on your toes will be difficult.

Third-degree strain – This is a complete rupture of the tendon. This will require immediate medical attention.

CAUSES

An abrupt and intense contraction of the calf muscle is usually the cause of an Achilles tendon strain. Cold temperatures, inadequate warm-up and lack of flexibility can contribute to the chances of injury.
 
TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree strain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised.
After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating. Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off.
Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.
Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

ANKLE SPRAIN (I’ve had this and it’s not nice!)

DESCRIPTION

Sprains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree sprain – mild pain, slight or no swelling, no bruising, no loss of range of motion.

Second-degree sprain – moderate pain, some localised swelling, some localised bruising, some range of motion loss.

Third-degree sprain – Very tender and painful, swelling and bruising over whole area, immediate range of motion loss.

CAUSES

Rolling the foot to the inside or outside. This can be caused by jumping and coming down on the side of the foot, coming down on another athlete’s foot or stepping on a stone or other debris.

TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree sprain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the joint should be immobilised.
After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating. Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off. Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

CALF STRAIN

DESCRIPTION

A calf strain is a stretch, tear or rupture of one of the two muscles in your calf – the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The strain usually involves the gastrocnemius muscle.
Strains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree strain – A tearing of less than 25% of the muscle fibres.
This is characterised by mild pain and may not be felt until the day after the injury.

Second-degree strain – A tearing of 25% to 75% of the muscle fibres. Pain is more sever and is felt immediately upon suffering the injury. Discoloration may occur. Walking and standing on your toes will be difficult.

Third-degree strain – This is a complete rupture of the muscle. This will require immediate medical attention.

CAUSES

An abrupt and intense contraction of the calf muscle is usually the cause of a calf strain. Cold temperatures, inadequate warm-up and lack of flexibility can contribute to the chances of injury.

TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree strain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised.
After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating.
Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off. Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

Resume activity gradually. Start running at about 25% of your normal mileage. Add no more than 10% per week.

HAMSTRING STRAIN

DESCRIPTION

A hamstring strain is a stretch, tear or rupture of one of the three muscles on the back of your thigh. The muscles involved are the Biceps femoris, Semittendinosus and Semimembranosus. Together, these muscles are commonly known as the hamstring. These muscles are two joint muscles that extend your leg at the hip and flex your leg at the knee joint.

Strains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree strain – A tearing of less than 25% of the muscle fibres. This is characterised by mild pain and may not be felt until the day after the injury. A slight pull may be felt at the time of the injury.

Second-degree strain – A tearing of 25% to 75% of the muscle fibres. Pain is more sever and is felt immediately upon suffering the injury. Discoloration may occur. The injury will be felt immediately and continued activity will be difficult. Walking and jogging may be painful.

Third-degree strain – This is a complete rupture of the muscle. This will require immediate medical attention. Walking or running is impossible.

CAUSES

An abrupt and intense contraction of the hamstring muscle is usually the cause of a hamstring strain. Cold temperatures, inadequate warm-up and lack of flexibility can contribute to the chances of injury. A violent overstretch of the hamstring can cause a tear or complete rupture. A hamstring strain is a common injury among sprinters because of the high forces placed on this muscle during high intensity running.

TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree strain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised. After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating.
Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off.
Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

Resume activity at around 25% of your normal mileage and intensity. Gradually increase both mileage and intensity.

HIP FLEXOR STRAIN

DESCRIPTION

A hip flexor strain is a stretch, tear or rupture of the iliopsoas muscle. The ilipsoas muscle flexes your hip. This muscle is located on the front side of your hip, just below and to the inside of your hip pocket.

Strains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree strain – A tearing of less than 25% of the muscle fibres. This is characterised by mild pain and may not be felt until the day after the injury. A slight pull may be felt at the time of the injury.

Second-degree strain – A tearing of 25% to 75% of the muscle fibres. Pain is more sever and is felt immediately upon suffering the injury. Discoloration may occur. The injury will be felt immediately and continued activity will be difficult. Walking and jogging may be painful.

Third-degree strain – This is a complete rupture of the muscle. This will require immediate medical attention. Walking or running is very difficult.

CAUSES

An abrupt and intense contraction of the iliopsoas muscle is usually the cause of a hip flexor strain. Cold temperatures, inadequate warm-up and lack of flexibility can contribute to the chances of injury.

TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree strain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised. After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating.
Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off.
Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.

Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.

Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

ILIOTIBIAL BAND FRICTION SYNDROME (I’ve had this and it’s recently reared it’s ugly head again!)

DESCRIPTION

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a thick tendon that runs down the outside of the leg from the pelvis, over the outside of the knee, to the outside of the shinbone. The purpose of this band is to increase knee stability. Sometimes, this band rubs against the outside of the knee joint, causing inflammation and pain. Running on slanted surfaces or on a short track with frequent sharp corners can increase the incidence of this injury.

SYMPTOMS

Pain is mild in the early stages but can become intense in severe cases.
A tightness is felt on the outside of the leg. Eventually a burning pain is felt at the outside of the knee.

CAUSES

Repetitive bending and straightening motions at the knee is the usual cause of this injury. Sudden increases in training volume will contribute to the chances of suffering this injury.

TREATMENT

Mild cases may be treated by discontinuing the activity that caused the injury.  Apply ice to the area 5 times a day for 15 minutes.

If pain continues or reoccurs:

Massage the IT band regularly (every 2-3 days for 20 – 30 mins).

Exercise the glutes and legs:

• Single Leg Hip Raise (Pelvic Bridge)
• Walt Reynolds ITB Special
• Single Leg Squat
• Lunges
• Flutter Kicks
• Donkey Kicks
• Side Lunges
• Ball Squat
• Calf Raises

Try running on it (1-2 times a week), but do not run through any pain.

If the condition does not improve within 2 weeks, see your doctor or a physio.

Here’s some more information about the IT band injury:

http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/iliotibial-band-friction.html

Other information:

https://lornpearsontrains.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/iliotibial-band-friction-syndrome/
http://www.rosedalenaturalhealth.com/2009/07/20/iliotibial-band-friction-syndrome/

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

DESCRIPTION

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a fibrous tissue that runs along the sole of your foot. This is a very common running injury and can become chronic if not managed properly.

SYMPTOMS

Pain and tenderness that is located on the inside part of the sole of your foot, just in front of your heel. Pain is usually low grade in the early stages and progresses to a more severe pain that prohibits continued activity. The pain is usually worse upon getting out of bed in the morning.

CAUSES

Running and jumping motions places tension at the point where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. Repetitive stresses at this point causes inflammation. Athletes that excessively pronate (rolling inward of the foot) are more prone to this injury. Worn out shoes also contribute to plantar fasciitis.

TREATMENT

Discontinue weight-bearing activity. Perform non-weight bearing exercises such as swimming and biking to maintain cardiovascular conditioning.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.
Recovery time can take from 2 weeks to several months depending upon the severity of the injury.

PREVENTION

If you pronate excessively, use a good stability shoe that will correct the inward roll of your foot. Replace your shoes every 6 months or 500 miles of training.
Use a ¼ inch heel pad in your shoes.
To strengthen the plantar fascia, perform toe pulls.

QUADRICEPS STRAIN

DESCRIPTION

A quadriceps strain is a stretch, tear or rupture of one of the four muscles on the front of your thigh. The four muscles are called the Rectus femoris, Vastus lateralis, Vastus intermedius and Vastus medialis. Together they are commonly known as the quadriceps. These muscles act together to extend the lower leg at the knee joint and flex the leg at the hip. The quadriceps is used strongly for decelerating and running downhill and is many time injured during this activity.

Strains are classified as first, second or third degrees.

SYMPTOMS

First-degree strain – A tearing of less than 25% of the muscle fibres. This is characterised by mild pain and may not be felt until the day after the injury. A slight pull may be felt at the time of the injury.

Second-degree strain – A tearing of 25% to 75% of the muscle fibres. Pain is more sever and is felt immediately upon suffering the injury. Discoloration may occur. The injury will be felt immediately and continued activity will be difficult. Walking and jogging may be painful.

Third-degree strain – This is a complete rupture of the muscle. This will require immediate medical attention. Walking or running is impossible.

CAUSES

An abrupt and intense contraction of the quadriceps muscle is usually the cause of a quadriceps strain. Cold temperatures, inadequate warm-up and lack of flexibility can contribute to the chances of injury.

TREATMENT

A doctor should treat any second or third degree strain. A first-degree sprain may be self-treated by using the following procedures.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised. After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating.
Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off.
Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

Resume activity at around 25% of your normal mileage and intensity. Gradually increase both mileage and activity, but no more than 10% per week.

SHIN SPLINTS

DESCRIPTION

Shin splints have become a generic term for pain on the front and side of the lower leg. Pain on the front portion of the lower leg is usually one of three injuries – tibial periosteum, stress fracture or anterior compartment syndrome.

SYMPTOMS

Tibial periosteum – This is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the tibia. The pain is usually felt on the inside of the shin. Pain is mild in the early stages but increases as the injury develops. Pain is felt when the ankle is bent downward against resistance.

Stress fracture – Stress fractures are small cracks in the tibia or fibula. Pain is mild at first and progresses to intense pain that prohibits activity. The pain is easy to localise and is tender to the touch. Pain is usually on the front or inside of the shin.
Anterior compartment syndrome – The muscles in the front of the lower leg are enclosed within membranous walls. When these muscles grow too large for these compartments, pressure builds up which causes pain. The pain is mild in the early stages but can build to intense levels. This injury is usually located on the outside part of the shin.

CAUSES

Shin splints are overuse injures and are caused by repetitive pounding motions such as running, especially downhill running. Rapid increases in volume can increase the chances of suffering these injuries. Weak or tight muscles also contribute to this injury. Over-striding is a common cause of shin spints.

TREATMENT

If a stress fracture is suspected, diagnosis and treatment by a doctor is required.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE).
During the first 24 to 72 hours, the area should be immobilised. After this initial stage some light activity should be included in order to keep range of motion and strength from deteriorating.
Ice should be applied to decrease swelling, bleeding and pain.
Compression in the form of a wrap of some sort will help minimise swelling. Check the wrap often to be sure that circulation is not cut off.
Elevation of the injured area will help keep fluids from accumulating around the injured area and causing swelling.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 15 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

Recovery time can take from 5 days to several months depending upon the seriousness of the injury.

A program of strength training and stretching will help prevent future injury.

Adjusting your running stride so that you land with your foot directly under your centre of gravity with a flat footed or ball first foot plant, will also prevent this injury. 

STRESS FRACTURE OF THE HEEL BONE

DESCRIPTION

A stress fracture is a crack or series of cracks in a bone. This is caused by repetitive impact such as running and dancing.

SYMPTOMS

Pain is usually low grade in the early stages and progresses to a more severe pain that prohibits continued activity. The pain is usually easy to localise by pressing on the affected area. The pain increases with activity.

This injury is difficult to self-diagnose. If you suspect a possible stress fracture, consult with your doctor.

CAUSES

Excessive activity, especially a sudden increase in activity is the most common cause of a heel bone stress fracture.

TREATMENT

Discontinue weight-bearing activity. Perform non-weight bearing exercises such as swimming and biking to maintain cardiovascular conditioning.
Take appropriate medications for pain and inflammation.
Apply ice to the area 4 – 5 times per day for 10 minutes.
Consult your doctor.

A cast is usually not required for this injury. Approximately two months of no weigh-bearing activity is required for full healing.

PREVENTION

Do not suddenly increase your activity. Make increases slow and gradual.

RUNNERS KNEE

DESCRIPTION

Runners knee is an overuse injury that involves pain in front of or on either side of the kneecap. This is the most common knee injury among runners. Volleyball, basketball and tennis players also suffer from this injury.

SYMPTOMS

Pain is mild in the early stages but becomes worse as the condition progresses. The pain may be hard to localise and may feel like an entire area is in pain. There may be a grinding sensation behind the kneecap. Sometimes the knee may feel as if it is giving way. The pain may worsen after sitting for long periods of time or when going up and down stairs.

CAUSES

It is thought that a miss-tracking kneecap is the main cause of runners knee. The kneecap can be miss-aligned because of excessive foot pronation (foot turning inward), rotation of the knee or wide hips. Weak or tight hamstring or quadriceps muscles also contribute.

TREATMENT

Mild cases may be treated by discontinuing the activity that caused the injury. Apply ice to the area 5 times a day for 15 minutes.
If the condition does not improve within 2 weeks, see your doctor.

Performing knee extensions, lunges and leg presses, to strengthen the quadriceps muscles, may help prevent future injury.

 

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3 Responses to 12 common running injuries…

  1. Hey Lorn,
    Sorry to hear that you are having ITB problems. I’ve had this in the past so can sympathise!

    Do you have a foam roller? I swear that mine is invaluable for my ITB as you can get a really deep massage. I know it works as when you hit a sore area it hurts like hell…just like the physio!

    Rosexx

    • lornpearson says:

      Hi Rose

      Yes we do have a foam roller… so far this week its not been too bad but I haven’t tested it properly… I need to do a longer run, maybe wednesday morning and see how it behaves. Thanks for the tips.

      Lorn x

  2. Pingback: How to deal with injury constructively | Lorn Pearson Trains…

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