Why runners get injured and how to prevent it!

Posted by: Anne

It is around this time of year we see a lot of runners coming in with a nice variety of injuries. Between the Dublin marathon fast approaching, relatively decent weather this summer, and loads of 5ks and 10ks on, the runners are out in full force and so are their injuries! Getting an injury when you are training for a race can not only be painful, but extremely frustrating and costly.

Injuries such as patellar tendinopathy, plantar fasciosis, stress fractures, achilles tendinopathy, runner’s knee, calf and hamstring strains are just some of the injuries that we see runners presenting with daily in the clinic. A clear pattern emerges time and time again when I am looking for the cause of these injuries in runners. The answer is simple: poor load management.

A loading injury occurs when training load has exceeded the bodies ability to adapt. This means that you are asking your body to do more than it is able to do. For example, if you scale up your running too quickly-jump from doing 5k x 3/week to do 10k 5/week, your body may not be able to adapt efficiently to the increased load you are putting on the muscles/tendons/joints. This is common in people training for a marathon or starting a new fitness regime.

We also see a lot of people who have good cardio, but may not have run in a while and when they return to running, they push themselves to fatigue. Even though their cardio fitness can cope, their muscles/tendons may not and they can end up with niggly injuries. Although, one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health and to lose weight is to shock the body and push yourself, this is probably one of the best ways to get an injury.

There are other elements to load too-it is not just increased distance. You can change your load through changing your speed, your running surface, your runners or your frequency of running. Therefore, theses elements all need to be monitored and considered if you are to avoid injuries.

We usually advise a 10% rule-do not increase your speed or distance more than 10% a week when you are training. Also, you need to be really consistent with your training. For example, if you are doing 5k x 3/week and then have several weeks off training, you need to build back up to 5k.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, sometimes injuries will occur. If you do get pain that is stopping you running, or going on longer than 1 week, come to see a Chartered Physiotherapist sooner rather than later-try not to let niggly injuries drag on untreated-the longer they go on the harder they can be to treat. Call us at 0863582911, if you need to make a booking!


Anne :)