The most common injuries in runners are overuse injuries. Overuse injuries refer to injuries that develop over time rather without a specific incident such as shin splints or tendinitis. Some studies quote the prevalence of overuse injuries in up to 91% of recreational and highly trained runners.
Whilst no-one is completely immune to injury there are certainly a few things you can do to help minimise your risk:
1) Address your biomechanics
Different body parts rely on each other to create movement, if there is a weak link in the chain then it will either break or cause undue stress on another body part.
• Reduced movement at your ankle may put more stress on the knee
• Weak gluteal/butt muscles may put more stress on the hip or knee
• Tight calf muscles may cause your foot to roll in
Speak to your physiotherapist about getting a screening done. A screening should be able to identify areas in your body that are weak/tight or falling below the expected normal values and give you some ideas and exercises to help correct them.
2) Maintain your body
Once you have achieved a good biomechanical model from your screening you need to maintain it. If you want your body to be a machine… treat it like one and have regular tune ups… your car gets them!
Use tools such as:
• Foam rollers
• Muscle mates (for trigger points)
• Stretch bands
• Regular remedial massage
3) Load management
Overuse injury = your training load has exceeded your body’s ability to adapt
Training errors are the major cause of overuse injuries and something that can be prevented. You may have perfect biomechanics but if you do too much too soon or just too much you will break. Everyone will break at some point… unfortunately some before others… you can blame your parents for that one!
Talk to your Physio or coach about managing your training diary.
4) Ensure adequate recovery
Your most important recovery tool is SLEEP!!! Aim for at least 7 hours per night.
Next best is nutrition..which is another whole discussion in itself.
The best runners are proactive and see a Physiotherapist for a general screening to identify problem areas with poor biomechanics that need addressing before they develop into an injury.
And always keep in mind – most overuse injuries will worsen with time and the sooner you get onto them the easier they are to correct – don’t wait until you can’t walk..let alone run!
Our physios can help you to identify key areas that need improvement and to make you stronger to prevent injury. Book online here or call us 9968 3424.