Are you an injured runner? Early Signs of Running Injury and Prevention

Are you an injured runner-intouchphysio

Runners are prone to injury, especially when they start running again after a long period of rest or suddenly increase the frequency, intensity or duration of their training. Sometimes running injuries can be traumatic and sudden, while others gradually occur and worsen over time. It is very tempting to ignore those minor pains and odd symptoms that you are feeling, but here are some warning signs that runners should not neglect.

1. Pain

Knee strain pain of a injured runner

Most runners will tell you, “No pain, no gain” and to a certain extent, I agree. When we push our bodies during training, it is likely that we will feel some soreness in the muscles after the event. If you push yourself hard you may experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) 48 hours after the session. It has been shown that stretching and massage after such sessions can help with reducing the soreness. However, if you feel a sudden localised pain that is either mild, moderate or severe in nature this might be a sign of a strained muscle (aka pulled muscle).

It is very important after straining a muscle that you do not continue to run or play your sport and that you DO NOT try to stretch it out. Muscle strains are tears in the individual muscle fibres a bit like a cut on your skin. If you continue to overload that area or aggressively stretch it the tear will become worse. A physio will be able to advise you on how much relative rest you need to allow it to heal and provide you with a gradual rehabilitation programme to get you fit again. It has been shown that strength training helps prevent muscle injuries in runners, check out my strength exercises demo for runners here.

2. Swelling
Swelling in runner
When you sustain a traumatic injury to a joint it invariably will swell. If you have ever twisted your ankle you will know what I am talking about. However, for runners, sometimes the swelling is not easy to observe. This is because it is within the joint. Swelling within a joint will likely result in pain, stiffness and a feeling of tightness. Swelling inside a joint could be a result of damage to the articulating surfaces and will often come with clicking or grinding. It is vital that a qualified physiotherapist assesses the body part in question to get an accurate diagnosis and advise on the best form of treatment.

3. Numbness or Pins and Needles
Feel Numbness or Pins and Needles in runner
Numbness or pins and needles are likely due to compression of a nerve. This could be occurring in the spine or lower down in the limb along the nerve’s pathway. This type of running injury is often very easy to resolve but can become serious if not assessed and treated effectively by a physiotherapist.

4. Tenderness to Touch
Tenderness to touch - running injury
If a specific area of the body such as bone, muscle or tendon is very tender when pressed this could be a sign that there is a problem. In runners, it is common to develop an issue called medial tibial stress syndrome, the symptom of which is a pain on the inside of the shin bone. It is often excruciating to touch this area. This syndrome develops due to muscle weakness in the legs, biomechanical imbalances and often overtraining. It is vital to have your running style analysed as well as a full biomechanical assessment, as this issue could develop into stress fractures if left unchecked.

Running Analysis

If you are a runner experiencing any of the symptoms above it is vital that you come in for an assessment. However, prevention is the best form of medicine. At Intouchphysio our Senior Physiotherapist Paul is conducting running gait analysis, using cutting-edge video applications to observe how you run and advise where you can improve your style to reduce the load on the joints and improve running efficiency. Runners, stop suspecting if you are injured and contact us for more information of the Running Analysis Program 

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