Running as a hobby or sport is a great way to stay in shape and burn off any unwanted anxiety or stress. Whether you run on a treadmill or on the open road, you are susceptible to injury. If running is an important outlet for you, having an injury impede you ability to exercise each day can be quite discouraging. Below are 3 common injuries you can avoid by familiarizing yourself with their causes and symptoms.
The up and down movement felt when running can be quite therapeutic. It can torque and apply pressure to all the right places in the spine. Sometimes this compression can be too much on backs that are extremely tight or are out of alignment. If you begin to feel extreme pain or tightness in your back during or after your run, your spine may be having a harder time recovering from the compression it experiences during your run. Stretching is an extremely effective way to combat tightness and tension in the back. The following yoga stretches focus on improving the health of the spine:
- Child's pose
- Downward facing dog
- Lying spinal twist
- Double knee twist
- Spinal Balance
If stretching doesn't improve the pain you are feeling in your back, you should consider visiting a chiropractic of physical therapy office that specializes in sports medicine. They will be able to manipulate the spine and help repair any injuries.
Piriformis syndrome happens when the piriformis muscle tightens and shoots pain down the leg. The piriformis muscle is one of the smallest in the gluteal area, but plays an important role. It helps rotate the leg when running. This muscle is adjacent to the sciatic nerve and when it becomes irritated or inflamed it sets off the sciatic nerve, shooting pain down the leg.
This syndrome can also be improved through stretching and strengthening the piriformis muscle. Therapists that specialize in sports injury recovery will be able to work with you to improve the strength of your gluteal muscles as well as proper stretches that will release tightness and tension.
The Achilles tendon is the largest in the body, connecting your calf muscle to your heel. It sees a great deal of use with regular activity and can be really put to the test by avid runners. When this tendon sees too much use, tendonitis can set in. Tendonitis is caused by extreme inflammation, swelling and pain that runs down the back of the leg.
To check for Achilles tendonitis your doctor will do a physical examination and may order an x-ray to be done. If your doctor does diagnose you with Achilles tendonitis, they commonly recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Icing the tendon
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone shot
The Achilles tendon can be quite delicate, tendonitis should not be left untreated. If not attended to the tendon can tear and require surgery to repair.
Don't become a victim of common running injuries by taking care of your body! If you begin to notice any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a doctor that specialize in sports medicine—such as one from Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd. They will be able to evaluate your situation and recommend a form of treatment that will get you back into your running shoes.