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Tatton Park Race for Life: Avoiding Running Injuries

Posted on June 2nd, 2015

Are you ready for the Cancer Research Race for Life? This year’s takes place at Tatton Park on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of June.

It’s the largest women’s-only fundraising event in the UK, aiming to raise money for the treatment of over 200 types of cancer. It’s for a fantastic cause, and you can sign up here.

For those taking part there’s the “Pretty Muddy 5k” on the Saturday, then the 5k and 10k on the Sunday. If you’re looking to push yourself slight further, go for the latter. No matter what your ability or your goal, it’s possible a slight niggle or a serious injury can ruin all the fun.

You’ll want to avoid the possibility of getting hurt – so here are three common running injuries and how you can prevent and recover from them.

Ankle sprains

These are common but avoidable. Firstly, you need to get footwear specific to the activity. I.e. proper running trainers. They need to support your heel and arch, and should be stable around those areas.

Those who run regularly should replace shoes every six months, while those new to the sport should condition their bodies by gradually increasing the time spent running – this will improve strength and mobility.

Before you set off on a run, prepare with a thorough warm-up and stretching routine, and then focus on your technique while in motion. Other than that, there’s not much you can do if you land awkwardly.

Treating Ankle Sprains

The aim of treatment is to keep any swelling or pain to a minimum, while allowing you to use the ankle joint normally again as soon as possible.

Whether it’s a light sprain or something more severe, the treatment you receive or the action you take determines how quickly you can get running again.

First, self help is the best course of action. Ankle injuries can be treated with protection, rest, ice-compression and elevation (PRICE), while avoiding heat, alcohol, sunning and massage (HARM) – both are advised for the first 72-hours after the injury.

Painkillers can also be effective. You shouldn’t refrain from exercise altogether, so start doing gentle exercises to prevent stiffness and get your joints moving.

If the injury is more serious your doctor may advise you to keep your ankle still for around ten days. This may require a brace or a cast that reduces the pain and swelling.

Physiotherapy is ideal for the more severe injuries. It focuses on building your strength and mobility though balance training and co-ordination exercises.

Runner’s Heel

Plantar fasciitis (or runner’s heel) is the most common cause of heel pain in runners. It affects the underside of the foot, and is caused by damage or thickening to the Plantar Fascia which runs from your heel to the middle foot bones.

Most common in runners aged 40-60, it‘s a painful injury that is usually caused by overuse or triggered by the following:

  • Running on a new surface
  • Wearing shoes with poor cushioning and support
  • Excess weight putting too much pressure on heel
  • A tight Achilles tendon affecting flexibility

Treating Runners’ Heel

Like most lower-limb injuries, treatment begins with rest, but your best bet is to try and avoid injury altogether by doing the following:

  • Changing running shoes regularly
  • Wearing cushioned shoes with proper support
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Stretching the calf muscles
  • Avoiding running on hard surfaces

A dedicated strength and conditioning program is advised. Stretching and foam rolling are ideal for loosening up tight quads and calfs.

Four out of five runners’ heel injuries heal properly within a year while one in twenty cases will require surgery.

Runner’s Knee

Patellofermoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), or runner’s knee, is one of the most common injuries faced by runners. It accounts for around 20% of all running injuries, and also affects cyclists and hikers.

The name can be attributed to any pain – sharp and sudden or dull and chronic – around or under the kneecap.

It is usually felt while running but becomes worse afterwards.

Biomechanics are usually to blame, with weak quadriceps unable to support the patella and inflexible hamstrings putting pressure on the knee.

It is also caused by the continual motion of running and pounding the pavement which causes irritation where the kneecap rests on the thighbone.

Recovery and Exercises

Strengthening and conditioning should be added to your workout routine to help prevent injuries, while it’s important to keep mileage increases to less than 10% per week.

Treatment varies but it is important to avoid running downhill when the forces on the kneecap are increased.

Straight leg lifts are great for strengthening key muscles such as the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) and Vastus Medialis Longus (VML) without applying stress to the kneecap.

Suffering From a Running Injury?

Most running injuries can be prevented through warming up and stretching properly, with serious ailments requiring more thorough rehabilitation.

We can help get you back to peak condition for your next event, so why not get in touch?

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