Running injuries can affect anyone, from experienced runners who push themselves hard, to beginners whose bodies are not used to running.
Our sports injury team has treated thousands of patients with running related injuries. From Olympic stars to running rookies, our practitioners have successfully got people back out chasing personal bests.
The most common running injuries we treat at The Forge Clinic in Richmond are:
This can be a dull or sharp pain at the front of the knee, around the knee or behind the kneecap.
The Achilles tendon is the tough, rubbery cord at the back of the ankle that links muscles to the bone. You may feel a continuous ache or sudden pain at the back of the ankle or heel.
This is usually a dull pain on the front of the lower legs.
This is often a sharp pain in the heel or bottom of the foot. The medical name is plantar fasciitis.
The most common running strains are in the hamstring muscles (which run down the back of the thigh) or calf muscles. The pain is often sudden.
There are many possible causes of hip pain in runners, including muscle strains and tears, osteoarthritis, bursitis (swelling of the bursa over the hip joint) and irritated tendons, ligaments and soft tissue such as ITB syndrome. Also, the reason for the pain may be the lower back, and not the hip at all.
What can cause running injuries?
- An accident – such as a fall
- Not warming up properly before exercising
- Wearing unsuitable running shoes
- Poor running technique
- Running uphill or on hard or uneven surfaces
- A sudden increase in training distance or intensity
- Lack of flexibility work or focus on training one muscle group only (ie quads over hamstrings).
Often, running injuries don’t have an obvious cause and may result from a variety of factors.
How to treat a running injury
First of all, stop running if you feel pain. Continuing to exercise while you’re injured may cause further damage and slow your recovery time.
If the injury is severe, such as a broken bone or dislocation, go to your nearest accident and emergency (AE) department as soon as possible.
If the pain or swelling is severe, see your GP straightaway.
If your injury is minor, and the pain is not severe, you can usually treat it yourself at home by:
- using over-the-counter painkillers, such as Paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) tablets or creams, such as ibuprofen to ease any pain
- using PRICE for the first 48 to 72 hours to minimise any damage and aid recovery
PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Protection – protect the affected area from further injury; for example, by using a support.
- Rest – avoid physical activity and rest the affected joint or muscle.
- Ice – apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours. A bag of frozen peas, or similar, will work well. Wrap the ice pack in a towel to avoid it directly touching your skin and causing an ice burn. If you have pain under your foot freeze a small bottle of water and roll it under your foot.
- Compression – use elastic compression bandages on the injured area during the day to limit swelling.
- Elevation – keep the injured body part raised above the level of the heart whenever possible. This may also help to reduce swelling.
When should I seek professional help?
If the pain or swelling does not improve or you are unable to carry out your normal daily activities after the initial 72 hours you should seek further medical assistance from your GP or a specialist expert such as a physiotherapist, sports therapist, osteopath or chiropractor who can provide you with advice and an appropriate and effective recovery and rehabilitation programme.
How long should it take to recover?
Depending on the severity and type of injury you have, it can take a few weeks, a few months or more to make a full recovery. While you recover, it’s important not to do too much too fast as this could prolong your recovery time. However, you should aim to gently start moving the injured body part as soon as possible. As movement becomes easier and the pain decreases, you can begin to introduce stretching and strengthening exercises. Your sports injury therapist can guide you through this process.
Whatever your injury, it’s important to listen to your body. Never run if you’re in pain and only start running again when you’ve fully recovered.
Specialist advice and treatment for running injuries from The Forge Clinic
At The Forge Clinic in Richmond we understand that you will want to get back out on the road or track again as soon as possible. Our qualified osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractor work with athletes at all levels and specialise in treating the injuries experienced by runners. They will design your treatment to suit you and your lifestyle and get you back running, injury-free, as quickly as possible.
After a detailed assessment of your injury and accurate diagnosis, treatment options for running injuries may include:
- Manual therapy techniques such as massage, manipulation and stretches to reduce pain and stiffness
- Correcting imbalances and movement problems with gait analysis and orthotics
- Tailored exercise and training programme to prevent further injuries.