Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Avoiding injuries

The last thing we want to happen to us as runners is get injured. It doesn't matter if we are veterans or new ones. An injury forces us to cut back if not totally stop. It transforms running from a fun activity to a stressful one. That is something we definitely do not look forward to.

Experts agree that injuries are part of the sport, and are common. Owen Anderson in an article on running injuries posted at Sports Injury Bulletin cites scientific studies showing that "about 60-65% of all runners are injured during an average year..."

Anderson lists five anatomical 'hotspots' for running injuries:

1. The knee (25-30% of all injuries to endurance runners occur there);
2. The calf and shin (20% of all injuries);
3. The iliotibial band - a long sheath of connective tissue which runs from the outside of the hip down to the lateral edge of the knee (10%);
4. The Achilles tendon (8-10%), and
5. The foot - the focal point for hobbling injuries like plantar fasciitis (10%).

Jonathan Cluett, M.D., in his article on the same topic at About.com also classifies common running injuries into hip and thigh injuries, knee injuries, leg injuries, ankle injuries and foot injuries.

Like the other experts, Cluett points out that understanding a running injury is the key to effective treatment. They could be avoided and prevented by wearing proper footwear, stretching out properly, and crosstraining.

In the About.com article "How to Prevent Running Injuries," Christine Luff lists six steps to keep yourself on the road.

1. Avoid the "terrible too's" - too much intensity, too many miles, too soon.
2. Treat your feet right - Be sure that your shoes aren't worn out and that you have the right model for your feet and running style.
3. Find the right surface - Once you have the right shoes, you want to make sure you're using them on the best surface. You'll also want to avoid tight turns, so look for slow curves and straight paths.
4. Stay loose - with a regular stretching program.
5. Keep your balance - Injuries sometimes pop up when you're paying too much attention to your running muscles and forgetting about the others.
6. Make sure you're ready to return - To prevent re-injury, ease back into training

Another list of things to do to avoid running injuries is provided by Rick Morris at the Running Planet website.


  1. I am fortunate to have only suffered from a mild case of shin splits about a year and a half ago. I don't stretch really that much before and after a run, but through out the day all day. Thanks for posting this, as is a good reminder to not tax onto your body more than what you should. Take care.

  2. Good article on injuries, happily it never happened to me, I always make sure I'm ready to run before starting and do my exercises after that...

    Another great site for running resources is www.fromthecouchto5k.com!

    Happy Running, Carrol

  3. Hello,

    I've never suffered almost any injury, a good preparation and stretching is key for this.

    Read more about this in www.fromthecouchto5k.com, I really recommend this site.

    Happy running,