Running injuries: what to do? Should you stop running? Will everyone benefit from a running assessment?

running injuries and what you should do trail runnerRunning injuries can occur in different areas of the leg and can vary from a muscle strain, to tendinopathy, to a bone stress fracture……and they don’t always mean you have to stop running. Despite the odd ankle sprain, the majority of running injuries are due to overload. Overload means doing more than your current capacity can cope with.

Why do Running injuries occur?

Spikes, or sudden increases in training loads are usually the culprit in causing running injuries. Understanding what load means in the running context is important if you are to manage your running program well and run pain free.

Running Injuries and load increase

What is an increase in load? This may be

  • a sudden increase in pace or doing more speed training,
  • adding hills training,
  • starting to run with a running partner (who runs faster than you, which you make you push your training harder),
  • new shoes,
  • returning from a break with no running such as holidays or if recovering from an injury or illness.

KEY POINT: Any changes in your running program or how you run need to be done slowly and progressively, to avoid a running injury.

Recover to prevent running injuries

An imbalance between how much you do know as training load, and how much you rest, known as recovery, will shift the scales towards an injury rather than towards adaptation, that is, getting better and more used to how much running you are doing. Knowing when to add the more intense sessions or when to add rest sessions or light/recovery sessions can be the gold nugget to keep you running pain free.

Key Point: recovery is essential to help prevent running injuries

Should you stop running with a running injury

Most injuries will allow you to keep running and can even improve with a slight change in the running routine to give your body time to recover and adapt to the training load. Load management is key to recovery from, and to overcoming a running injury. If not, your injury can go on to become long-lasting and recalcitrant.

Treatment for running injuries

Some injuries can be harder to improve and may require physiotherapy. Treatment will depend on the structure injured and the severity of injury. Bone injuries such as a stress fracture may require some time off running and specific exercises to progressively expose the injured bone back to loading and consequently safely back to running.  

Other injuries such as ITB syndrome, patellar or achilles tendinopathy should require no rest, rather, resistance exercises to work on weak muscles and other types of exercises such as jumps and hops. Jumps and hops are important and target the springs in your body (tendons) aiming to improve tendon load capacity, required for running.

For most running injuries, treatment will be exercise based. This is to slowly introduce the injured structure to load that will be then progressively increased as tolerated.  This will allow the injured area to adapt, and thus the tissue (tendon, muscle, bone) to get stronger and more also more resilient.

What about a running assessment?

Join Vanessa and Gabriel in our new Running Clinic for running injuries 300x250For some people, especially novice runners, or for those with a long lasting injury, a running assessment may be warranted. There are some key things to assess in a running assessment, and potentially change in your running style, to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries.

The road to recovery is not without bumps but at Physiologix, our Sports and Exercise Physiotherapists are here to help you along the way, to provide you with the best support and guidance through your recovery to return to running pain free.

Our goal is to keep you active while you recover, and to support you in being the best runner you can be.

Learn more about the Physiologix Running Clinic -   CLICK HERE.
The running clinic helps you understand more about our 1:1 appointments and our running clinic group sessions.

You can book an appointment online at physiologix.com.au or call us on (07) 3511 1112