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4 Common Running Overuse Injuries and How to Treat Them

4 Common Running Overuse Injuries and How to Treat Them

Most everyone knows it; running is one of the best exercises you can do. Humankind is definitely made for it, and there are too many benefits to count on how it can improve your health, your cardiovascular endurance, and your mood. We shall take a look at 4 common running overuse injuries and how to treat them.

With running, typically your cardiovascular fitness AKA your heart and lungs, will gain fitness and ability much faster than your legs and feet will. This means that when you keep progressing with your running, going further distances, more days a week, you can injure your muscles and tendons that aren’t ready to handle the distances you are putting in each week.

So, below are some of the most common running overuse injuries that can occur from running too much before your body is prepared for it, and how you can treat these injuries. Treating these running overuse injuries and using preventive measures will ensure you get to get back out there running and improving your health, and your PR (personal record).

 

1. Plantar Fasciitis

This is one of the more common running overuse injuries that runners get and can be one of the more painful. Plantar fasciitis is a foot pain that is along the bottom of your foot, it can be from the heel all the way into the arch.

This is commonly the most painful in the morning or after sitting for an extended period of time and the pain usually subsides after you’ve been on your feet for a while but returns later.

Some of the causes of plantar fasciitis are:

  • Running in worn-out shoes
  • Putting in too many miles too fast
  • Flat feet (rolls feet inward while running)
  • Feet with high arches (rolls feet outward while running)
  • Incorrect running biomechanics and form
  • Running with tight calf muscles

 

There are many ways to help treat plantar fasciitis but the most effective ways to do so are as follows:

 

  • Custom Orthotics: These are inserts that give your feet more support and cushioning where you need it most. Unlike foot inserts from the store, they are made for your feet and can help rid the foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
  • Decrease running: This one is also extremely important, if you already have an overuse injury, decreasing the amount you run will help give your feet the recovery they need to heal, just be sure to increase running volume slowly to prevent the plantar fasciitis from returning.
  • Replace your running shoes as excessive wear starts to show (typically around 500 miles)

 

2. Runners’ Knee

Runners’ knee is a common overuse injury for you guessed it, runners. The pain is located beneath or around the kneecap and can hurt the worst squatting or going up or down steep inclines. A few causes of runners’ knee are like the causes of plantar fasciitis and include:

  • Running in worn-out shoes
  • Putting in too many miles too fast
  • Weak leg muscles
  • Flat feet (rolls feet inward while running)
  • Feet with high arches (rolls feet outward while running)
  • Incorrect running biomechanics and form

A few treatments like changing your running shoes as they become worn out and lowering the amount of running apply to runners’ knees just like plantar fasciitis but the most important treatments for runner’s knee are:

  • Strengthen surrounding muscles: strengthening your quads and hamstrings as well as your hips will help keep you from having runners’ knees because the muscles will absorb the impact that goes to your knees when the muscles can’t handle the amount of running being performed.
  • Ice your knees after running: this will help bring the inflammation down and aid in recovering
  • Stretching: giving your quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors a good stretch before and after runs will ensure they are able to be utilized which will take the pressure and excess strain from your knees

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3. Achilles Tendonitis

Another overuse injury that is common to runners is Achilles tendonitis. If you have pain with heel strikes or when running up the stairs, it is possibly Achilles tendonitis.

Some of the causes of Achilles tendonitis are:

  • Running uphill excessively
  • Flat feet (rolls feet inward while running)
  • Feet with high arches (rolls feet outward while running)
  • Incorrect running biomechanics and form
  • Wearing worn-out running shoes
  • Increasing mileage too quickly

 

The best treatment for Achilles tendonitis is getting custom orthotics. Most of the time, Achilles tendonitis occurs from a runner’s feet not landing properly when taking running strides, and over thousands and thousands of steps, these issues accumulate.

So, to help eliminate flat feet or high arch issues when running, custom orthotic inserts help correct these issues, they are also more comfortable for your feet in general.

With Achilles tendonitis, apart from the orthotic inserts, stretching your legs, lowering mileage, and avoiding hills until the symptoms subside will also help with treatment and recovery.

4. Shin Splint

Shin splints are very common if not the most experienced overuse injury for runners, and unlike many of the other running overuse injuries, it does not generally go away while running.

Common causes of shin splints include:

  • Bad running mechanics
  • Worn-out running shoes
  • Flat feet (rolls feet inward while running)
  • Feet with high arches (rolls feet outward while running)
  • Incorrect running biomechanics and form
  • Increasing mileage too quickly

Some common treatments for shin splints are:

  • Proper fit of running shoes: this is probably the best way to treat shin splints, wearing running shoes (and orthotic inserts) that are made for the way you walk and run.
  • Rest (take some time off running, and lower mileage when returning to runs, increasing slowly)
  • Ice your shins before and after runs
  • Replace your running shoes as they show excessive wear.

 

The best way to prevent shin splits from happening is just proper running shoes, go to a specialist to get the shoes fitted correctly to your running gait.

Overcoming Running Overuse Injuries Isn’t Complicated

4 Common Running Overuse Injuries and How to Treat Them

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed and scared as you get a running injury, but most all running overuse injuries caused by running have the same treatments and just require some time for recovery.

Much of it can be broken down into proper footwear (and shoe inserts), decreasing mileage, icing the injured areas, improving leg strength, and replacing shoes as they wear out. Dedicate yourself to the treatments above as running overuse injuries start to occur, or practice the treatments before you ever have running overuse injuries to prevent them from occurring.

 

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