Runners run. They run through rain, they run through snow, and they run through aches and pains to reach their goals. A dedicated runner needs to run like a bird needs to fly, and it’s rare that an injury will bench a runner willingly. Running offers too many benefits to keep enthusiasts off their feet for long. It’s true —running does have plenty of positives for the body. The aerobic exercise burns calories fast, allowing people to lose weight quickly. Running can improve cholesterol levels and boost the immune system to lower the body’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Plus, running releases feel-good endorphins in the brain, increasing happiness and confidence and providing that sought-after runner’s high.
However, any type of repetitive, high-impact exercise is going to cause bruises and muscle aches at some point, and running is particularly hard on a person’s delicate joints in the knees, ankles, and hips. Many small pains can be ignored or powered through, much to runners’ delight. Other nagging aches can be remedied with over-the-counter pain relievers, which you can find at discount prices at CanadaDrugPharmacy.com
However, there are a few seemingly innocuous pains that, if not given rest and recovery time, could cripple a runner for life. Runners should be on guard for the symptoms of the following conditions, and allow themselves enough time to heal completely before returning to the pavement — or else abandon running completely for a lamer exercise.
More terrifying than an actual bone break, stress fractures are immensely painful but difficult to detect and treat. These injuries are so small that they rarely show up on x-rays. Though stress fractures can occur in any bone of the body, most runners get them in their feet, ankles, and lower legs due to the constant repetitive jolt of the foot on the ground. Runners can feel the sharp pain of a stress fracture at the top of the foot, above or below the ankle bone, or on a specific point on the shin. Some runners have swelling and redness around the site of the fracture, and pressing on the fracture will cause even more intense pain.
Typically, stress fractures are caused by overuse; runners working their bodies too hard and too frequently without any rest period experience the worst injuries most often. Runners should avoid increasing their speed or mileage too quickly without allowing their bodies to acclimate to the change, and they should be sure to replace their shoes for new ones every 500 miles.
Under no circumstances should a runner continue to run on a stress fractured bone. Pressing the injury could result in a complete break, which is even more frustrating and inhibiting. Instead, runners should simply replace running with a low-impact exercise like swimming or cycling (depending on the location of the fracture) until they are all healed up.
This injury is a hard one to run away from. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick tissue that runs the length of your foot’s sole, connecting the heel to the toes. The injury often causes a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, often likened to stepping on a nail barefoot, and appears and disappears seemingly at random. The problem with plantar fasciitis is that it is possible to run through the pain — sometimes the heel pain will show up and abate during the period of a single run — but a lack of pain doesn’t necessary signal that the injury has healed.
Overuse or improper footwear is also the usual culprit behind plantar fasciitis. Runners absolutely must take rest days and pace themselves during their runs if they want to stay safe from this condition. However, generally weak feet are also a main reason the pain develops. If the muscles in the foot aren’t strong, the heel takes too much weight during runs, and the foot’s tissue tears.
Rest is a good idea during a plantar fasciitis flare; runners shouldn’t try to finish a run (or start one for that matter) if they experience the familiar heel pain. To help prevent flares in the short term, runners can purchase a variety of orthotics or compression sleeves to alleviate symptoms. Additionally, ice and massage can break up the scarred tissue that causes stiffness and pain. However, for the condition to fully clear up, runners must implement a rigorous stretching and strengthening regimen to beef up the muscles around their feet.
Runners love to run, no matter their reasons, but to keep up their favorite activity runners must be extra attentive to the messages of their bodies. Any sharp pains in the heel, on the top of the foot, around the ankle, or on the shin bone should be investigated before any laces are retied. To learn more which aches to pay due diligence and which to run through, come back tomorrow for the final three major running injuries!
Sometimes it can be hard to understand why runners love their sport. Running is hard work; it requires strength, endurance, agility, and flexibility, as well as dedication and motivation. While every runner has a different reason why he or she runs — be it cardio training, fat loss, or even simply for the thrill — the fact is that most runners crave their morning or evening run like a smoker craves nicotine.
In our last blog, we posted about two major injuries caused by running. While running does have plenty of benefits, if executed improperly, the exercise can have disastrous effects on the body. Some minor injuries are easily remedied by anti-inflammatories and pain medications available at our online Canadian pharmacy. Runners should pay close attention to any new aches or pains in their bodies and assess whether they need to take a breather — or risk further injury with another run.
Inflammation is a culprit in many running injuries, and it pops up again in the tendons to cause serious damage to runners’ knees and ankles.
In the knee, tendonitis most often affects the patellar tendon, which helps extend the lower leg to kick or run uphill. Often called runner’s or jumper’s knee, patellar tendonitis will manifest itself as a nagging ache or a sharp pain just behind the kneecap. The pain could show up during or after a run, but it could stick around to inhibit the completion of everyday tasks, like walking or climbing stairs.
In the ankle, inflammation frequently afflicts the Achilles tendon, the tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel. Achilles tendonitis pain can range in intensity from annoying to incapacitating, and it is almost always experienced close to the heel on back of the ankle.
Both types of tendonitis are caused by improper stretching and overuse. Many runners are eager to start their run and only half-heartedly warm up their muscles or neglect to stretch at all, which keeps muscles stiff and increases strain on tendons. To avoid this injury altogether, runners should be diligent in their stretching no matter how long it takes.
Once tendonitis sets in, it can be a long and frustrating recovery. Ice, anti-inflammatories, and rest are the only way to fix the cause of the pain; runners must continue a strict regimen of ice for at least a week after the pain disappears, for damage remains even when the symptoms are gone.
People use this term so often for minor injuries that it can seem like an ankle sprain is unimportant and easily fixed. However, sprains are serious business, and they can spell the end of a runner’s career.
Unlike every other item on this list, ankle sprains are caused entirely by a traumatic event to the ankle. Any runner can experience an unfortunate landing that causes his or her ankle to roll inward or outward, unnaturally stretching the ligaments and causing intense pain. Depending on the direction of the tumble, the pain could be located anywhere around the ankle and range in severity.
Runners’ immediate reactions to sprains dictate how long and hard recovery will be. If the runner continues running on the injury, the ligament will continue to be overtaxed and the ankle might never be able to recover. Conversely, if the runner stops, and returns home to rest and ice his or her ankle, recovery should only take a few weeks at most. If the sprain is bad, the runner may have to wear a boot or some kind of support for a few months — or even for the rest of his or her life. However, if complete recovery is possible, runners should prevent future injury to the area with balance exercise targeting the ankle muscles.
IT Band Syndrome
A huge and critical tendon that runs down the outside of the leg to join the knee to the hip, the iliotibial (IT) band is essential for walking, running, and moving your leg in any way. When runners damage their IT bands, they feel pain in their knee which has commonly been likened to being stabbed in the kneecap. Sometimes the injury only makes itself known when runners go downhill, but if left unhealed, the IT band will make movement nearly impossible in later years.
Running in a manner that puts strain on your hip stabilizers is the main cause of the inflammation of IT band syndrome. Downhill running and constant running on the same sideways incline places stress on one leg.
To avoid this injury, runners should switch up their routines and try running different routes every day. However, to encourage healing after the injury develops; stretching and massage will loosen the tight muscles and tendons of the area, making movement easier and less likely to overtax the crucial IT band. Additionally, leg strengthening exercises, particularly those targeting the muscles of the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, will take the strain off other delicate and inflexible tendons and ligaments.
Running isn’t just a hobby or exercise — it’s a lifestyle. Runners can get overenthusiastic about their sport, so much so that they risk serious, lifelong industry just to reach their sought-after high. Still, smart runners would do well to heed the messages of their bodies and take a break at least once a week.