Running can be hard on your body. These tips from Brooks Beasts trainer Sarah Bair can help keep you running healthy in 2021.
Common running injuries
As a runner, you’ve likely dealt with injury at some point. You can chalk most running injuries up to repetitive stress — it’s that thing where something hurts but you continue to run hoping the pain will just eventually go away.
Sarah Bair, athletic trainer for the Brooks Beasts, says that overuse injuries are incredibly common for runners and they can build up over time. “Having an awareness of some of these injuries might allow you to catch them before they become a big problem and require time off from running,” she explains.
According to Bair, three of the most common running injuries are SI joint dysfunction, Achilles tendinosis, and bone stress injuries.
SI joint dysfunction
The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects your pelvis to your spine. Too much or too little movement in the SI joint leads to SI joint dysfunction.
Too much movement in this joint can be painful and cause your pelvis to feel unstable. This may feel like pain in your low back or hip and may radiate into your groin area.
Too little movement in the joint can also be painful and can cause muscle tension. This may feel like pain on one side of your low back or glute and can radiate down your leg.
SI joint dysfunction can occur for different reasons, including prolonged activity with an uneven gait pattern placing repetitive stress on the joint. You can treat this injury by restoring normal motion in the joint through therapeutic activities.
The degeneration of the Achilles tendon’s collagen fibers in response to chronic overuse leads to Achilles tendinosis. The main symptom here is pain or swelling on the back of your heel during running or walking.
Preventative care for your Achilles can help provide the tendon with the support structure necessary to absorb repetitive load. These activities can look like eccentric stretching, adjusting running biomechanics, strengthening the lower leg, self-myofascial release, and professional therapeutic care.
Bone stress injury
The repetitive mechanical stress on a bone can cause structural fatigue and local bone pain. Bone stress injuries cover a range from a stress reaction (bone inflammation) to a stress fracture (break in the bone).
Bone stress injury can present with localized pain to the touch, dull aching at rest and pain with exercise, and daily activities.
You can prevent this by addressing your overall body health in addition to running biomechanics. Seek specific nutrition counseling and consult with a doctor to help give you a clearer picture of your body’s bone health and ability to sustain high training loads.
Running injury prevention
Now that you know some of the most common running injuries, learn more about how focusing on soft tissue elasticity, joint mobility, and muscle activation can help you avoid them.