How to Deal with Common Running Injuries During Race Training

Runners are a breed apart, enlivened by the prospect of throwing themselves at the sidewalk, track, or trail in all manner of weather – sometimes when they’ve sustained an injury.

While I know it’s frustrating, it’s important to attend to your injuries and take the time required to allow healing.  Runners are born to run, so that’s not what they want to hear, but it’s what they need to do.

This post is about how to deal with common running injuries during race training.  When you’re readying yourself for competitive running (even if you’re only competing against yourself), delays in your schedule are unwelcome, to say the least.  But let’s talk about realistic ways you can support healing.

Don’t ignore the injury.

Runners who’ve been injured sometimes believe they can manage the pain and keep going.  While standard post-injury protocols can be administered on your own (RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation, for example), seeking professional advice is recommended.

Minor injuries can become major headaches if you don’t give yourself time to heal.  A medical professional can determine the source of the pain and treat it, often with conservative therapies.  So, don’t be stubborn.  Ask for help.

Shin splints.

Many runners experience shin splints.  Caused by repetitive stress, this condition causes chronic pain on the front portion of the lower leg.  But at the root of the condition may be foot problems like high arches, or even flat feet.  Also at fault are hard surfaces and starting and stopping suddenly.

Of course, shin splits occur in even the most seasoned runners and are especially prevalent during periods of elevated training for races.

If you’re experiencing shin splits, your best bet is to come see us at NJOSMI.  We can determine the source of the problem and correct it.  If it’s your feet, we may recommend a change in footwear, or a modification in the form of supportive insoles, like orthotics.

We may even recommend that you follow a course of physical therapy to correct your gait, if that’s what’s at fault.  By coming to us, you can get to the heart of the condition and address it effectively.

Stress fractures.

Tiny fissures can appear in your bones (especially those of the feet and lower legs, in runners) because of long term, repeated stress.  Running long distances can produce stress fractures, as well as the foot problems noted above in the section on shin splints.  But one of the biggest culprits is a sudden spike in training before races.

Because stress fractures can be exacerbated by continuing to run, it’s recommended that they be given between 4 and 12 weeks to resolve.  Treatment may include the standard RICE protocol, as well as therapeutic exercises to strengthen and repair tissue.

How to deal with common running injuries during race training is largely dependent on the severity of the injury.  But there’s one common thread here – come see us.  We’ll let you know what’s safe and what’s not, while your injury is healing.

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