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9

Common Running Injuries

RunningRunning is one of the most popular ways to keep fit and stay active, with a host of organised events across the UK from small 5K races right through to a 26.2 mile full marathon. There are also loads of local running clubs designed to help keep you focussed as a group and working together on achieving your goals.

Mainstream events have been established for all types of runners in a bid to appeal to a wider audience as not everyone has the time to train for a marathon or in deed the ability to run one. Some runners even use the 10K and half marathon events as a test before taking on the bigger challenge of a marathon.

Avoiding running injuries

The only way to avoid a running injury is to not run. Amateurs and professionals alike will at some stage encounter an injury regardless of their training and conditioning. Injuries themselves vary in their severity but typically result from overuse i.e. pushing yourself too far.

Preparation is essential before undertaking any event, ensuring your body is prepared for the distance ahead in order to minimise the risk of injury. When you arrive at the start line you should be confident that you are able to handle the distance from your training.

Another way to avoid running injuries is to warm up before and cool down after your run. Warming up beforehand gets your muscles ready for action by stretching them, whilst cooling down afterwards reduces the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid can result in stiffness of the muscles which can hinder your mobility, especially the morning after the event.

Ankle Injuries

A huge amount of force is placed on the lower body when running, increasing the likelihood of injury following overuse.

Ankle injuries occur when there is damage to the ligaments within the joint. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue connecting the bones within the joint, offering stability to the joint which allows you to control your movement and remain mobile. Any damage sustained to the ankle ligaments can vary in severity, from mild sprains to ligament tears and ruptures.

Last year there were over 1 million admissions to accident and emergency following a sprained ankle, making it one of the most common ankle injuries experienced, whether landing awkwardly, slipping on a wet surface or from running on an uneven surface. This can be very painful and in the short term and prevent weight bearing, but is largely a self-limiting condition and following a few days of rest should be back to normal. A sprained ankle occurs where the ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion resulting in inflammation.

A more severe trip or fall can lead to a rupture or tear of the ligaments and lead to a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Surgery may be required in extreme circumstances to repair the ligaments, though this will also require extensive physiotherapy before you are able to walk again, let alone run.

The severity of the ligament damage will determine your recovery time from the ankle injuries sustained and the type of rehabilitation offered, from simple resting to using an ankle support to needing physiotherapy.

Training is essential to condition your body and help to avoid running injuries but don’t be disheartened should you pick one up on the way. If you stop immediately and rest and take it easy then you will be in action in no time.