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Common running injuries and how to arrive at the start line ready despite them

Lisa Tamati

Posted on March 14 2017

Common running injuries and how to arrive at the start line ready despite them
Here are the most common injuries that afflict runners
Calf strain/ Tear and achilles tendonitis
Causes Weakening of the muscle fibres, not doing enough recovery work with myofascial release or massage or stretching after training. 

Why: Toe landing
Toe push up 
Tight calves from lack of stretching.

Don't neglect to your ankle and knee strengthening programs. Not having enough strength causes the muscles to tear. Landing on the ball of the foot where you can make the most of your muscle elasticity is important as opposed to landing on your feet or flat footed.

Plantar Fasciitis

Causes: Too much load on the plantar fascia leads to tissue breakdown
Why: toe landing
excessive push off
Tight calves or achilles tendons.

To stop this over the long term requires correct technique and improving foot mobility and strengthening of the fascia. Get a hard ball (lacrosse or cricket ball) and roll in under the foot, side to side with as much weight as you can handle without the pain being too much and back and forth, start at the back of the foot and work forward. Massage and stretch the foot with your hands. Stretch tight calves and do trigger release on the calves and shins. 
ice regularly especially after training for a few minutes.

ITB syndrome
Causes heel striking out in front of the body when running.
landing on the outside of the foot.
Why Weak muscles of glue medius and vastus medialis  (lateral quad)
Tight muscles of quad
sticking of the IT band to underlying muscles 

Releasing the tight tissues and lengthening of the IT band by stretching, strengthening glutes and myofascial release (foam roller or ball)  Its painful but needs to be done after every run.
If its excruciating it means you need more work on it.  Pain will lessen as you work on it.

Patellar Femoral dysfunction and Ptallar tendonitis
(runners knee) 

Causes: Patella not sliding within the femoral groove properly
Tissue breakdown at the patellar tendon.

Why: Tight quads, weak Vastus medialis oblique
weak gluteus medius
sitting for long periods (bad for many reasons)

Increasing strength in the glutes and quads will lessen stress on patella tendon. 

So much for the science. Why do so many runners face these problems and what is the common theme here lack of strength and not enough recovery work with foam rollers, release balls and stretching. We harp on about it but still we are finding many are having injuries because they are not doing the strengthening programs religiously.

As your goal races are getting closer for many of you. It is better to strengthen, stretch and continue with rehab exercises and myofascial release techniques than it is important to do long slow distance runs. You now have all got a good aerobic base behind you and it will not be your cardiovascular system that lets you down on race day but rather injuries or a lack of strength in your kinetic chain that will let you down. 
Work hard on your form drills  and concentrate of stretching, rehab, massage, icing, compression, myofascial release work etc and non impact cross training if you can't run. These are valid forms that will increase your fitness, not just running. Don't make the mistakes i have made over years and years of just doing massive mileage reasoning a lot of time on feet is enough to see you through. I would have been a far more successful athlete had I trained different and known what I am telling you now. When I started there was none such knowledge available and I reinvented the wheel and yes I achieved 100's of ultra finishes but not as easily as I could have and not as fast as I could have. More done with sheer determination than skill or smart training.
Listen to Neil and his strength training regime, his recovery regime his stretching its damn damn important. You are better to arrive at the start line undertrained but healthy than overtrained and injured. 
Keep that in mind.


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