How Beginners Can Avoid Common Running Injuries
April 3, 2021 | Liz Pollock

Running may seem like a simple activity but it accounts for a significant portion of sports injuries, especially in beginners. Although various running injuries exist, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and iliotibial band syndrome are the more common types of injuries experienced by runners. 

The medical professionals at Integra Health Centre have compiled this list of the most common running injuries and have also outlined ways on how you can avoid them. Read on to find out more.

Common Running Injuries:
Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs due to inflammation and degeneration of the Fascia which is a thick layer of tissue on the foot’s sole. This leads to intense heel pain or burning especially first thing in the morning. It is not uncommon to find novice runners limping out of bed. The condition responds well to rest and rehabilitation but can take a long time to go away.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendon is a tissue that connects the calf muscle to the foot. An irritation in the Achilles tendon is known as Achilles tendinitis. This results in the patient experiencing sharp pain and reduced ankle mobility. 

Quite often, ramping up running intensity too soon results in Achilles tendinitis. The body grows and adapts much slower than we think. Runners are prone to overestimating their capacity. Thus, any progress made is lost to months of intensive therapy and rehabilitation to manage the excruciating pain.


IT Band Syndrome

Our knees play an important role when we run but also happen to be the most unstable joints in the human body. 

The knee is stabilized and is kept in place by the iliotibial band that runs from the hip to the knee. Excessive rubbing of this band against the leg bone results in IT band syndrome which causes excruciating pain at the leg’s outer aspect. The pain gets worse when a patient bends his or her knees. 

The usual cause for the IT band syndrome stems from improper running technique and subpar footwear. Once these injuries develop, it can take prolonged sessions of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to manage them.


Preventing Running Injuries:

Fortunately, by implementing simple running tips, these injuries can easily be prevented. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds just as valid as ever. The human body is designed to move through time and space. Running, or any movement pattern, need not be painful. 

The most common mistake novice runners fall prey to is taking on too much too soon. The body needs time to adapt. It is essential to take it slow. Slow, consistent growth beats rapid, short-lived progress every time. While following a professional routine it is recommended to  listen to your body and not push through any pain that you may be experiencing. 

Running surfaces and footwear are an ignored aspect of running. Inappropriate footwear and running on a hard surface are a sure-fire way of accumulating sports injuries. Ideally, running shoes should fit snugly, have a soft sole, and a shape that accounts for the foot’s arches. 

Grass is the perfect surface to run on, especially when starting out. It offers softness while still being firm enough to avoid excessive stretching of the joints. Nearby parks can be a great place to start. 

Novice runners also have poor running postures. Misalignment of the spine and hips accounts for a large fraction of running injuries. An excellent running posture is that which is comfortable, efficient, and pain-free. 

Always remember to keep your ribs tucked with your chest forward. Engaging the core and glute muscles and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement, ensure good form. 

Having discussed the most common running injuries and their preventions, consulting a physiotherapist that specializes in running mechanics can be a worthwhile investment to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.


The next step:

A physiotherapy and health clinic like Integra Health Centre can help you prevent running and sports injuries, eliminate the need for intensive rehabilitation and help you move painlessly. Call us at (416) 777-9355 for more information or visit our website to book an appointment right now.