Don’t Run Into Trouble…
RUN: Better, Faster, Longer, Stronger
Do you dream of being that runner where every step along the strand running track is 100% pain-free? No aches, no twinges or niggles, no lingering soreness from yesterday’s session. Well, you are not alone; research shows that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year. Stop. Think about that number for a moment; nearly 8 out of every 10 runners you see at your next race have been or will be injured sometime that year.
Some words from our Physio team Williamstown…
Think of running pains in terms of a spectrum. At one end you have severe, full-blown injuries, we’ll name that the red zone, which includes stress fractures that require time off. The other end, where you’re in top form, is the green zone. Mild, transient aches that bug you one day and disappear the next sit closer to the green end. Unfortunately, many runners get stuck in the middle, in the not-quite-injured but not-quite-healthy yellow zone.
Your ability to stay in the green zone depends largely on how you react to that first onset of pain. Often a little rest now, or reduction in training mileage and intensity, with some treatment, can prevent a lot of time off later. Developing a proactive long-term injury-prevention strategy, such as strength training, stretching, regular massage and foam-rolling can help keep you in the ‘green.’. You can find out more on injury prevention from out Williamstown practitioners, with recommended exercise plans, at the following link.
So, What Causes Running Injuries?
There are a lot of theories as to what causes running injury but it seems the answer is fairly obvious: running! With running being the key risk factor for running injuries what other factors influence risk? Historically a lot of emphases was placed on intrinsic factors like leg length discrepancy, flat feet, high arches, knock knee or bow legs and extrinsic factors like ‘special’ running shoes being stability shoes or anti-pronation shoes, lack of stretching. However, recent studies have shown there is no one specific risk factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship with injury rate or injury prevention. Whilst warming up, compression garments, acupuncture and massage have some evidence in reducing injury rates it is all a little grey. Leaving you with a multi-factorial buffet of probable contributing causes to running injuries.
What is Training Error?
There is however one specific factor that has been proven, and that is training error. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 60 to as much as 80% of running injuries are due to training errors. Runners become injured when they exceed their tissues capacity to tolerate load. A combination of overloading with inadequate recovery time. Tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage, are particularly at risk because they adapt more slowly than muscles to increased mechanical load.
Factors that affect how much training load a runner can tolerate before injury will also have a role. There are 2 key factors that appear to play a part in this – Body Mass Index (BMI > 25) and a history of the previous injury, especially in the last 12 months. While high BMI and previous injury may reduce the amount of running your body can manage, strength and conditioning are likely to increase it. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of strength training to reduce injury risk and improve performance. Training error and injury risk share a complex relationship – it may not be that total running mileage on its own is key but how quickly this increases, hill and speed training. The old saying of “too much, too soon” is probably quite accurate. Injury prevention is really a ‘mirror image’ of the causes of an injury. So, if you understand the primary reasons for getting injured then you are heading in the right direction to staying healthy this running season.
We have produced a series of prevention and treatment guides for the 6 most common running injuries which you can download here
What are The Most Common Injuries to be Aware of?
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hamstring strains
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Our Williamstown Physiotherapists have found that these injuries generally need complete rest or at least a reduction in training volume and intensity. Followed by physical therapy to promote tissue healing and mobility. Although these are overuse injuries there is frequently an underlying muscle weakness and/or flexibility issue that needs to be addressed with specific rehabilitation exercises. Follow this link to find more specific information about each of the most common running injuries with specific rehabilitation leaflets for you to use.
While guidance can be given, it is general in its nature, whereas individual complaints may need individual attention. If you do pick up an injury (including ‘tightness’ ‘irritation’ or ‘niggle’) that you’re worried about then we can help, the sooner it’s treated the better.
We have a wonderful team of experienced therapists including, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Myotherapists, Massage therapists and Pilates instructors all local to Altona, Yarraville, Seddon and Newport.