Whether it’s your first 5K, or your 10th marathon, getting sidelined by a running injury is frustrating. And taking time off of training to visit a knee surgeon is the last thing you want. But that’s exactly what can happen if you ignore a minor running injury for too long. Knowing how and when to respond to the most common race-training injuries can help prevent more serious issues in the future.
Most Common Running Injuries
Falls and accidents can happen while training. But the most common running injuries are repetitive motion or repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive motion injuries are caused by performing the same motions over and over again. This can lead to temporary or permanent injury to nerves, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The most frequent repetitive injuries experiencing by runners include the following:
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) – Shin splints are caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that is attached to the shinbone
- Achilles tendinitis – An overuse injury of the tendon that connects calf muscles to the heel bone
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) – Pain and tenderness in the iliotibial band which is a group of collective tissues that run from the outer part of the knee up to the hip
- Stress fractures of the tibia and metatarsals – Small cracks in the leg and foot bones caused by repetitive pressure
- Patellofemoral pain (PFPS) – Also known as “runner’s knee,” PFPS is described as knee pain ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain
- Plantar fasciitis – Caused by irritation of the connective tissue that stretches from the heel to the toes. It can often present as heel pain
Don’t Ignore It
If you experience pain or discomfort that relates to the conditions described above, don’t “train through the pain.” Consult with your doctor or a sports medicine specialist for a treatment plan. Repetitive motion injuries aren’t ever going to go away if you continue doing the thing that caused the pain in the first place.
Some of the non-invasive treatments your specialist might suggest include:
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
- Changing your footwear or modifying with inserts
- Wearing a brace for support
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Strength training/stretching
- Physical therapy
- Changing up your training activities
- Cortisone injections
The good news about running injuries is that they are preventable. Working with an experienced training coach who can advise you on topics like gate, posture, running surfaces, footwear, training exercises, and other variables can eliminate many of the factors that lead to injury.
But if you should be unfortunate to sustain an injury, don’t panic. A minor problem doesn’t have to become a debilitating trauma if you take care of yourself and follow the recommended treatment.
When it’s Time to See a Knee Surgeon
If knee surgery or knee replacement is the best treatment for your health, don’t assume your running days are over. The orthopedic specialists at Noyes Knee Institute point out that today’s advanced surgical procedures lead to shorter recovery times and more complete recoveries. Orthopedic surgery patients all across the country are returning to the activities they love with renewed commitment and no nagging pain to slow them down.