Do you have a running injury? Help identify, treat and prevent more injuries with this expert advice.
RUNNER’S KNEEWHAT IT FEELS LIKE Pain behind the kneecap when you run, walk or squat.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Weak quadriceps, hamstrings, and flat arches, according
to US research*.
PREVENT IT Stretch before and after all exercise, increase runs by no more than 5 per cent each week, and wear proper, well-fitting shoes.
Treat runner’s knee with this strength move a few times a week:
fitness ball half squats
1/ Sandwich a fitness ball between your lower back and a wall.
2/ Bend your knees
to lower yourself towards the floor.
Stop when your knees hurt or are bent at 90°.
3/ Straighten your legs to rise to the top without locking your knees. Do 4 to 5 sets
of 12 repetitions to strengthen your quads, lower back, glutes and core.
SHIN SPLINTSWHAT IT FEELS LIKE Razor-sharp pain on edges of the calves.
WHAT CAUSES IT? A result of collagen breakdown** caused by stress (yep, from all that pavement pounding), which inflames deep muscles around the shin bone (tibia). Ouch.
PREVENT IT A study† has found that the only measure effective at preventing shin splints are shock-absorbing insoles. Visit sportstek.net to get your trotters some pillows. If you already have shin splints, try to decrease your training load by 90-95 per cent and shun concrete in favour of lower impact surfaces like grass or sand. Twice a day, use your thumbs to massage your shin and calves up and down, working from the bottom of the leg to the top.
ILLIOTIBIAL BAND (ITB) SYNDROMEWHAT IT FEELS LIKE Sharp, burning pain on the outside of the knee when you run, cycle or squat.
WHAT CAUSES IT? If your knee buckles in when you run, your ITB (a band of connective tissue) pulls tight, making it inflamed and sore.
PREVENT IT Don’t increase the distance you exercise too quickly, or do too much downhill running. If you have high or low arches, treat them with orthotics. If you see excessive wear on the outside heel of your shoe, get new ones.
PLANTAR FASCIITISWHAT IT FEELS LIKE Sharp pain on the inside of the bottom of your heel.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Being on your feet all day, being overweight, lack of arch support, aggressively increasing training load.
PREVENT IT Stretch post-run.
Treat it with this heel-healer:
standing calf stretch
1/ Stand with your good foot 50-100cm in front of your injured one. Keep back straight, knees bent.
2/ Keeping both feet flat on the ground, bend back leg to lean into the stretch.
3/ You should feel tension in the back Achilles heel and calf. Hold for 30 secs on both legs; repeat two to three times a day.
ACHILLES TENDINITISWHAT IT FEELS LIKE '''A burning, shooting and piercing pain in the tendon above your heel.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Build-up of tension, feet that turn inwards and a lack of ankle flexibility can cause tiny tears, inflaming the tendon.
PREVENT IT Increase running gradually, run on grass, stretch after workouts. Try this: stand facing a wall at arm’s length. Put one foot on the wall at knee height, press your heel against it. Don’t lean towards the wall. Lift your chest so you’re standing straight. Hold this for 3 minutes on each leg.*University of North Carolina, US.
** Source: Current Orthopaedic Practice
† Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise