Running is a popular aerobic exercise – after all, you only need a pair of running shoes and a nearby path or park. It also offers plenty of benefits, helping with cardiovascular health, weight management and even improving your mood thanks to the endorphin release. But, without proper knowledge of running technique, runners can suffer a variety of running injuries like Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Here are some of the most common foot and knee injuries and how you can avoid them.
Common running injuries
#1 Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)
This condition causes pain around or behind the kneecap and is often associated with overuse, muscle imbalances or improper form.
Prevention of runners knee: Strengthen the quadriceps and hip muscles to provide better support to the knee. Ensure that your form is proper and maintain a balanced training plan that avoids sudden increases in distance.
#2 Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
Shin splints result in pain along the shinbone (tibia) and can be caused by overtraining, improper footwear or running on hard surfaces.
Prevention of shin splints: Ensure that any increases in running intensity and mileage is gradual. Also make sure to wear proper footwear with adequate cushioning and arch support. Consider running on softer surfaces like rubberised running tracks when possible.
#3 Plantar Fasciitis
This injury involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue along the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain, particularly upon waking or after long periods of rest.
Prevention of plantar faciitis: Stretch your calf muscles regularly before and after exercising. Also make sure to wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Avoid running on hard or uneven surfaces.
#4 Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It often occurs due to overuse or tight calf muscles.
Prevention of Achilles tendinitis: Incorporate calf stretches and eccentric calf exercises into your routine. Avoid excessive uphill runs and ensure your shoes provide proper heel support.
#5 Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones, usually in the shins (tibia) or feet. They are typically caused by overuse and inadequate rest. If left untreated, these can lead to more serious long term complications affecting your ability to run.
Prevention of fractures: Allow for adequate rest between intense workouts. Gradually increase mileage and intensity to prevent overuse. A diet with sufficient calcium and vitamin D also helps keep your bones strong and resistant to fractures.
#6 Hamstring Strains
Straining the hamstring muscles, located on the back of the thigh, can occur during during a run, especially if the muscles are tight or if there’s an imbalance with the quadriceps.
Prevention of hamstring strain: Include hamstring stretches and strengthening exercises in your routine. Warm up properly before getting started, and avoid excessive speed work without proper preparation.
Timely medical intervention is crucial for running injuries
Recognising the signs and symptoms of a running injury early allows you to seek timely medical attention. Healthcare professionals and knee specialists are able to provide appropriate treatment and interventions necessary to address the injury.
While some running injuries may not seem serious, these can escalate into chronic knee and foot problems if left untreated.There’s also a risk of compensatory movement. This is when runners unknowingly alter their form to reduce stress on the injured area. In turn, this increases stress and strain on other parts of the body causing new injuries.
Opt for an insurance plan that covers running injuries
While taking precautions certainly reduces the chances of getting an injury, mishaps can still happen. If you’re a frequent runner or an athlete, picking an insurance plan that covers common injuries is vital. Expat Insurance offers a variety of comprehensive health plans that covers running-related injuries. And if you plan to take part in marathons beyond Singapore’s shores, Expat Insurance also offers overseas coverage so you can put yourself to the test with peace of mind. For more information and a quote, visit their website here.
Written in collaboration with Expat Insurance.