A Physiotherapist's Guide to Training for Running - Part 4
Avoiding & Identifying injury
Unfortunately, injuries are very common in the world of sport and running, and they can be very frustrating to the individual concerned. We can only go so far as to limit the risk to injury, but these steps are important to reduce injury and limit the impact any injury may have on your progress. When an injury occurs it is vital to get early intervention and advice. Physiotherapist’s are ideally positioned to provide you with a thorough assessment, diagnosis and to start the recovery process early.
If you are running and do experience any pain or discomfort it is recommended to take action as early as possible. In the first instance this may be taking a few days off running to rest. Many runners will try this first approach and try going out again a few days later to test the symptoms out. This is often a good idea, and if the issue was only minor then it may well recover quickly and allow you to return to running. Sometimes the problem may persist, and it is at this stage that advice is recommended. If you continue to ignore a problem, it will most likely develop and worsen in time, and can lead to a more serious injury with the consequence of more time off running further down the line.
My advice on what to do and what not to do if you experience any running related symptoms:
- Try a few days of rest to see if this helps a minor injury recover
- If symptoms persist seek the advice of an experienced Physiotherapist
- Follow the advice and treatment recommended
- Carry out exercises that are prescribed specifically for you and your injury
- Consider a foam roller or massage to loosen any tight areas.
- Carry on running through pain and ignore the injury
- Try to diagnose the problem through Googling it or asking friends
- Try exercises that are not specifically recommended for you
- Don’t worry – most injuries recover fairly quickly with the right treatment
- Build your training up too quickly and risk and overuse injury
The most common type of injury seen in runners are overuse injuries. These occur when the demands on the muscles, bones, tendons and joints build up with an increase in training volume, and the body doesn’t have enough time to repair fully between sessions. The eventual result is pain and injury to the affected area. Types of overuse injury include shin splints, anterior knee pain, achilles tendinopathy and stress fractures.
The best way to reduce your risk of developing an overuse injury is to build a training base and have a training plan which involves a gradual increase in running volume.
The Strength and conditioning exercises we have previously covered (link) can help keep you strong and less prone to injury. If you are looking for a more specific exercise plan, then I recommend a run screening assessment. This is a series of exercises and muscle tests to evaluate your biomechanics. We can also assess your running on a treadmill and provide feedback on areas you can improve in. This all helps to build a specific strength and conditioning plan to help complement your run training.
If you are successful in keeping on top of any problems and act quickly, you are much more likely to achieve your long-term goals and cross the finish line with a big smile on your face.
If you have any queries after reading this, then why not book a Remote Physiotherapy Consultation with me by clicking here. I also offer Run screening assessments which are an excellent way to review your body and reduce your risk of injury.
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