Common Reasons for Running Injuries & How to Prevent Them

Last lockdown, 28 per cent of UK adults upped their usual amount of exercise. This was to be expected, as many found it a great way to clear their minds and ease anxieties.

It kept us busy, kept us moving, and boosted our energy through such a difficult period. However, unfortunately, there was a downside to this; 7.2 million Brits injured themselves. According to Bupa, the most common lockdown injuries were:

  • Pulled muscles (36%)

  • Knee injuries (31%)

  • Back injuries (26%)

  • Ankle injuries (26%)

  • Neck injuries (25%)

Bupa encourages relieving tension by warming down in order to avoid injury, so we’ve put together our top tips on how to avoid running injuries this lockdown.

Reduced Flexibility

Lots of runners just go straight into their run, pound the pavements and then come to a dead stop. It’s really important that you devote time to warming up with dynamic stretches, and finishing off with a good stretch too.

Long term commitment to stretching will help improve your flexibility, allowing your body to move to its full range of motion and protect itself while you run.

This elasticity is important for reducing impact across your body and allowing your muscles to gain strength to their full capacity.

Round off a run with a hip flexor stretch, a pigeon pose on a matt, and a wall stretch for the soleus. If you have a massage ball or foam roll, focus on releasing the tensor fascia latae, the muscle at the top of your hip and roll the bottom of your feet to release your fascia.

You should perform each stretch 3 times and hold for around 30 seconds.

The Wrong Footwear

Nike running shoes aren’t always the best for your feet…

Your toes need space to provide the support and balance needed to run efficiently. If you’re wearing shoes that squeeze your toes at the top, this gives them little chance to do their job!

Aim to find shoes with a toe box that lets your toes do what they’re there for; weight bearing (taking the toll off your calves and fascia), balance (stabilising joints) and thrusting you forward (improves gait and performance).

Insufficient Recovery

Recovery time isn’t just for pro athletes. We all need to give our bodies time to recover after a rigorous training routine. If you’re running long distances for example, make sure you reserve a day in the week for a recovery session by going for a shorter, slower run.

You can also give your lower body a rest by focusing on core training, doing a yoga class or focusing on stretching as alternatives.

Dehydration and Fuel Shortage

Being as little as 5% dehydrated can impair performance and increase the risk of injury, so make sure you’re drinking enough. You can do this by looking at the colour of your urine and ensuring it is a light straw colour.

Being dehydrated also makes the ligaments and tendons "more brittle" and susceptible to being damaged. Hydration improves the viscosity of the hyaluronic acid - the substance that lubricates all joints and the fascia primarily.

Muscle Weakness or Imbalance

One of the most important muscle groups for runners is the intrinsic muscles of the feet. There is a direct correlation neurologically wise with the intrinsic muscles of the feet and the glutes/transverse abdominus and obliques of the stomach. Strengthening the feet will stimulate the glutes etc to fire whilst loading when running.

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