Long distance running is a sport that contains risk. Unfortunately, runners of any serious mileage caliber can claim a few injury stories. On the road, we refer to them battle scars. Some of them can be serious enough to derail your training for a significant amount of time if they aren’t handled with the proper care. If you find yourself faced with a battle wound, take the proper precautions (which usually include rest, ice and a trip to the doctor).
Plantar fasciitis affects the arch of the foot and the heel. It is caused primarily by tight calves, which can place strain on the heel and arch. Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by improper footwear, over training and not stretching enough before or after a long run. It is one of the most common injuries in the running world. If you notice that your heels begin to cause you trouble, visit your local running store for heel inserts in your running shoes. Gel pads are my personal favorite. Another remedy is to roll your arch along a frozen water bottle to work out the muscle and ice the inflammation. Of course, for preventative care, make sure to work out your calves adequately and wear proper shoes on each run.
IT Band Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome affects runners of all strides. Unfortunately, it can be tough to predict how it happens. Some experts say it is due to improper footwear, excessive downhill running or even running too often on one side of the street. I think that nearly every injury can be traced back to muscle weakness and inadequate rest periods, but that is just my two cents. There are several braces on the market to support the IT Band during running, but these should not be used to simply ignore the problem. It is imperative to make sure the IT Band is supported, but ignoring it and running past the pain can cause serious problems, such as avulsion fractures in the knee cap. It is best to see a doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Shin splints are a common injury for runners, but they are certainly no joke. The problem with shin splints is that they disappear a few miles into your run, but big problems can resurface later. I have had experience with all of the injuries on this list, but shin splints knocked me out for an entire season. In fact, they turned into tibial stress fractures. This was a painful injury and tough recovery. I strongly recommend that if you start feeling the sting of shin splints that you consult a doctor and rest until you are pain free and fully recovered.
Running injuries are going to happen if you put in any serious mileage. The best way to cure an injury is to prevent one, but this isn’t always going to be possible. They can be treated properly to prevent them from becoming worse. Stay safe and well prepared for your races by taking care of your body.