It’s no secret that running is tough on the body: from the pounding of feet to the swinging of arms. At Girls on the Run, we always do specific Stretching and Strengthening exercises before we run to get our bodies ready to go for our workouts. Nevertheless, injuries can be common in running, especially for those who are new to running. Keep reading to find out the most common injuries and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)
a. Symptoms: Most people experience a sharp or dull pain at the knee joint, usually in front or behind of your knee cap (patella).
b. What causes it: This might be the most common injury for new runners. Runner’s knee is usually due to a couple of factors: unstabilized kneecaps, weak quadriceps, or ramping up mileage too quickly.
c. How to avoid/prevent it: Make sure to spend some time strengthening your quadriceps--lunges and squats are great ways to do so. Taking time to stretch out your quads and hamstrings after running is essential as well.
2. Shin Splints
a. Symptoms: An achy, dull feeling on the bones of your shins when running on hard surfaces. Commonly on the inside of the shin.
b. What causes it: Most likely this is due to doing too much, too soon. Other causes could be improper running shoes (everyone’s feet are different!).
c. How to avoid/prevent it: Take time to build up running longer distances. A good rule of thumb is to only increase your time/mileage 10% every week. I’ve also found calf stretching to be extremely crucial.
3. Plantar Fasciitis
a. Symptoms: Sharp pain on your heel
b. What causes it: An inflammation of a band that connects your heel to the toes.
c. How to avoid/prevent it: Icing the inflamed area and light stretching can help relieve pain.
Having pain while running is no fun. I hope this article shined light on some of the most common running injuries and how to prevent them!