Whether you've just started running or if you're racing in marathons, it's important to keep safe. Just like any sport, a regimen of rest, stretching, and hydration is important in helping prevent injuries. Below are some of the common injuries runners may face.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, known commonly as Runner's Knee, is a condition in which the cartilage on the back of the patella, or knee cap, is irritated. This irritation can cause knee pain. Symptoms of Runner's Knee vary, but most commonly include an aching sensation under or around the kneecap. This or a dull sensation may occur especially after long periods of activity involving the knees.
Medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as shin splints, is a fairly common condition among athletes. Shin splints are an inflammatory condition that takes place around the tibia, which is also referred to as the lower leg bone or shinbone. This condition, which is especially common among runners, can be very painful. Symptoms of shin splints usually include pain along the tibia that may increase with activity. Other symptoms may include redness or swelling of the affected area.
Achilles tendonitis is painful inflammation of the tendon, and sometimes a swelling of the sheath that surrounds the tendon. Overuse injuries from work or sports are the most common cause of tendonitis. Tenderness and burning pain while performing or after performing an activity are common symptoms. It's important to rest and treat Achilles tendonitis as soon as possible, as the condition can become chronic if left untreated.
Muscle strain is what occurs when a muscle is pushed past its limit. Severe muscle strain can cause the muscle to pull, or worst case, can cause a muscle tear. Muscle strains are graded according to severity, from a mild and relatively quick healing grade 1 strain to a grade 3 strain, which is a complete muscle tear. Strains happen when a muscle or tendon is suddenly stretched beyond its normal capacity, whether due to an impact or a sudden load. This may be avoided with stretching and strength building exercises.
The illiotibial band is a thick muscle that travels from the hip to the knee on the outer side of the thigh, serving to stabilize the knee. If this muscle gets inflamed, it can result in a painful condition called illiotibial band syndrome, or ITBS. Pain located on the outer side of the thigh that tends to increase when the muscle is engaged in activity is commonly a symptom of ITBS. The pain is most often felt above the knee, but it can occur anywhere from the hip to just below the knee.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury. If conservative treatments, such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation, or RICE, and a set period of physical therapy, do not treat the problem, your doctor may consider surgery, depending on the injury's severity. The procedure performed depends on the location and severity of the injury. Regardless of what procedure is performed, rehabilitation will require physical therapy. Dedication to stretching and strengthening exercises may help to heal the injury properly and to avoid another strain in the future.