Simple Ways to Avoid Running Injuries

Minimize your risk of becoming a part of the "injured runners club"

It's a new year and one of your resolutions is to run a marathon, a 5k, or at least to get off the sofa and make it around the block. That's a great goal, but if you know any runners, you're probably aware of how often the word “injury” comes up in conversation. So why is that? What makes runners seemingly so susceptible to injury and is there anything you can do to avoid it?

Many running injuries result from overtraining, whether it's a sudden increase in mileage or too many miles over the same terrain with the same old shoes. A common rule of thumb for shoe longevity is considered around 500 miles, and many running gurus advocate rotating between multiple pairs of your preferred shoes at any given time. In addition, ill-fitting shoes can wreak havoc on your body and also lead to damage.

However, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming part of the “injured runners club.” Here are two of the most common injuries and how to avoid them.

Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is the ligament connecting your toes to your heel bone, and supports the arch in your foot. Excess tension on it can result in small tears, leading to irritation and tightness. It generally presents itself as a sharp pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel, and is usually at its worse when you first get up out of bed. After a few steps the pain disappears and may not bother you again (even when running) until the next morning. Calf stretches and proper arch support (whether running or standing long hours at work) are key in minimizing the risk of Plantar Fasciitis, as is maintaining a healthy weight for your height.

IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome
Also known as Runner's Knee, ITBS is the iliotibial band (a long tendon that connects the knee to the hip) rubbing against bone as the knee is flexed, resulting in pain along the outer part of the knee. Runners are especially vulnerable to ITBS simply due to the stress and impact of repeated use. Women tend to be more susceptible to the injury due to the position of their hips relative to their knees. Improved running form, strength training, and footwear designed to reduce over- and under-pronation can all reduce your chances of ITBS.

If you think you may have injured yourself, or if you want to get a clean bill of health before starting your running routine, visit your local AppleCare Immediate Care Center.