How to avoid runner´s injuries
If there would be a specific formula on how to prevent sports injuries, everyone would use it and we would have no injuries at all; unfortunately it is not that simple. However, there are many measures that can be taken to control and reduce the risk of sports related injuries. Regardless of the level and intensity of your training, it is very important to look after your body well, so that it could perform the way you want it. For example, if you are training for an event or a competition, make sure that you have a training plan which is challenging, however achievable. Failing to have a plan may lead to overtraining, placing excessive strain on your muscles and bones which may lead to muscle strain injuries, tendinopathies or even stress fractures, depending on the activity. Not having a plan may also result in undertraining which may increase the risk injury during the event because you have not conditioned your body well enough.
Do ensure to have sufficient rest to recover. Remember that your body is not a machine and it needs rest. Insufficient rest will weaken your muscles making them prone to overtraining, hence, increasing the risk of injury. Rest does not always have to be laying down and not doing anything at all. You can have an active rest, for instance, when you are training for a marathon, on your rest day you might want to enjoy some gentle swimming. There will be no stress on your legs, but you will keep your cardiovascular fitness engaged. Basically try to replace the activity you are training for with a complimentary one at a significantly lower intensity. Moreover, ensure to stretch, foam roll and strengthen the muscles which are mainly involved in running. If you do not have motivation to do this by yourself, you can join stretching, foam rolling, yoga or pilates classes or see a professional for one to one sessions to help you with your journey.
How runners injuries affect mental health?
This is very individualised area because very similar injuries may have a completely opposite affect on two individuals, hence, we are not going to tell you how your injury will affect you, but will provide an insight of what impact it may potentially have. According to research articles, major areas of mental concern after experiencing a sports related injury are depression, anxiety and frustration, and decreases in self-esteem.
Depression may affect the individual not only in the sports environment but in day to day life resulting in lack of motivation to get on with tasks, or being careless when trying or asked to complete a request or a duty. One may become unhappy about the general position in life and start feeling worthless. Depression may also have a detrimental impact on the injury recovery as an individual may lose all the motivation to keep up with the rehabilitation plan. If depression is suspected, one should be encouraged to share it with a family member or GP as there is a lot of support available through counselling and NHS.
Anxiety and frustration may result in loss of confidence in your bodies ability to perform. It may significantly extend the rehabilitation process because it might make you feel anxious to take that extra step, do that extra set or perform the movement which caused the initial injury. This may have a negative impact on performance even when an individual will be discharged after completing the rehabilitation program.
Experiencing an injury may also cause loss of self-esteem and self-worth. One might start feeling like a failure or weak because the body was unable to handle the physical strain that was placed on it.
Unfortunately. Injury is always a possibility when taking on a sport. If you are unfortunate enough to experience one, we advise you to stay positive, see a professional if you are not sure what to do and get on with your rehab as soon as you can so that you could bounce back fast.
What running injuries are most common?
- Runner’s knee( patellofemoral Syndrome)
- Stress Fracture
- Shin Splint
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Pulled muscle
- Ankle sprain/ Strain
- Plantar fasciitis
- ITB ( Iliotibial band syndrome)
What to do if I suffer a running injury:
If you suffer or have suffered a sports related injury, we suggest you get into the rehab as soon as possible. Of course this will depend on the severity of the injury. There are a few factors to consider when determining the severity of the injury, such as swelling, discoloration, deformity, ability to weight bear and move the affected area.
If during the injury you felt or heard a crack or a pop, we advise that you see a professional sooner rather than later as it might be an indication of a structure tearing, breaking or dislocating. If after the injury you heard a pop, are in an excruciating pain and the area looks abnormal in comparison to the good side, you should immediately go to accident and emergency if you can, or call an ambulance.
If the injury happened to the lower limb like an ankle or knee, weight bearing is one of the indicators in predicting the severity of injury. If after an ankle sprain or a collision you are barely able to weight bear or if the area around the injury site swells up quickly and is painful and tender to touch you should seek medical help immediately as it might be an indication of something more serious such as a fracture.
When it comes to muscle and tendon related injuries you want to look for indentations in the area, the amount of bruising, how quickly bruising comes on and if you are able to engage the muscle. If you experience 3 of the symptoms above, you should seek medical help immediately.
If the injury was not severe, but it was bad enough to make you stop the activity, we recommend you to see a health care professional such as osteopath, physiotherapist or sports therapist to help you diagnose the injury and guide you through the rehabilitation process.
Available treatment for running injuries:
When treating a running related injury we recommend to start the rehabilitation process as soon as you possibly can. Of course that will depend on the injury you experienced. If you sustained an injury and are not sure what to do next, what you can or can not do, we strongly recommend to see a health care practitioner such as physiotherapist, osteopath, sports therapist or massage therapist as they will be able to help you with the diagnosis and guide you through the rehabilitation process.
For the first 2-4 days we recommend to RICE the area, meaning rest, ice, compress and elevate it, as it will help to manage the inflammation. We also recommend to start the rehabilitation process by introducing gentle pain free mobility exercises because it will help with the circulation and lymphatic drainage, hence, supplying the affected area with blood and helping to pump away the excess fluids from swelling.
Starting to load the area as soon as it is ready is very important because it will help to minimise muscle wastage. You can do so by using an elastic band, towel or very light weights. The exercises must be totally pain free as otherwise you might be causing more damage.
Utilising manual therapy such as joint mobilisation, sports or deep tissue massage and acupuncture is a very effective way of enhancing the recovery process because these techniques help to relax tight muscles which usually go into spasm to protect the area after the injury. It also promotes blood circulation and lymphatic drainage and helps to regain range on movement of the affected joint potentially reducing the time of the recovery.
A final word…
If you want to avoid or you are dealing with any runner´s injury our team can advise and treat you, we are always happy to help!
We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us 3 mins away from Angel station in Islington. If you like this blog, please share!