How To Avoid Running Sports Injuries

Running is an intensive activity, especially so if that is the main point of a sports, like track and field, long-distance running or sprinting. Running places a lot of pressure on your lower body, and if you're not careful, that activity can start to wear you down and cause pain. Overuse is one of the most common causes of injury for runners, so like with any sport, you need to take certain precautions to try to avoid common accidents.

What Overuse Can Cause

  • Runner's knee: When your patella rubs against your knee joint, this will start to cause pain on the affected knee. This is most often due to heavy pressure on the knee that comes with running, and tends to happen to women more than men.
  • Jumper's knee: Your patellar tendon connects your knee to your shinbone; if this becomes inflamed, this is called "jumper's knee." This is often caused by overuse, but also friction that occurs if your knee doesn't move up and down properly -- i.e., if you have bad form.
  • Stress fractures: Stress fractures start with a sore spot on your bone, which can then proceed to hairline fissures, then fractures, then to complete breakage. If you feel pain in your bone, get it looked at before it becomes worse.

Gear And Form

Running sports require a lot of special attention even though you're just running over flat ground. If you spend a lot of time running on flat, hard surfaces, this can quickly contribute to injuries from overuse. The same applies to your form; if you aren't running correctly -- e.g., your feet are hitting the ground too hard when you run -- you can quickly develop pain.

One way to help alleviate this is a proper pair of running shoes that provide adequate support. You don't necessarily want something that's overly cushioned; you need something that can absorb the shock of running, but also something that fits snugly and supports your arches. If necessary, ask a pediatrician for recommendations based on your specific needs. Additionally, talk to your coaches or fellow runners about proper running form to make sure you aren't putting additional stress and pressure on your body.

Prevention

Like with many other sports, it is possible to run and train too much or be unaware of what's best for what you need.

To start, don't overdo your training regimen. Start with something basic, then gradually move your way up instead of pushing yourself hard from the start. Your body is strong and can adapt as you start working harder, but it needs time to adjust.

If you have a specific training technique down, such as a location, you usually exercise in or specific exercises you do, don't immediately switch to something completely different. Your body needs to adjust between different environments, like hard and soft surfaces or steady jogs and sprints. Take it slow, because if you hurt yourself, you'll set yourself back. Talk to physical therapy experts, such as Eagle Center Physical Therapy, for more information.

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