5 Most Common Running Injuries

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Most runners have been sidelined by an injury at one point or another. While we can’t prevent all injuries, we can greatly reduce the risk with a proper truing program. Most running injuries can be traced back to a combination of overuse or “too much too fast”, muscular dysfunction, and biomechanical issues. A lack of cross training also increases the risk of injury.

Here we take a look at the 5 most common injuries, popular treatment options, and suggested running corrections so you can fix the problem instead of just treating the symptom.

Plantar Fasciitis– 

The plantar fascia is the tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and helps to support your arch.

  • Symptom: Sharp, tight sensation on the bottom of the foot near the heel. Often worse in the morning with pain during your first few steps out of bed or with the first few strides of a run.
  • Cause: Common causes include overtraining, improper footwear, flat feet, or excessive push off. Also an indication of weakened and/or tight muscles of the lower leg.
  • Treatment: Avoid bare feet, roll a golf ball on the bottom of your foot, and foam roll and stretch your posterior chain including your calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Correction: Long term focus should be placed on mobilizing your calves, landing with your feet under your hips, and strengthening the muscles of the lower body – especially your feet – to reduce the load. Also, make sure you are wearing correct running shoes for you!

Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinosis-

The Achilles tendon is the tendon that connects the heel bone to your calf muscles and considered our shock absorbers.

  • Symptom: Pain and swelling near the heel/lower leg. The Achilles tendon has limited blood flow so the healing process can take longer than anticipated, do not ignore the onset of symptoms.
  • Cause: Tight calves, improper footwear by style or heel-toe drop, and excessive push off can inflame the tendon. Also common with a quick increase in volume or intensity of training.
  • Treatment: A heel lift insert could help decrease the pressure on the Achilles and a regular routine of rest and ice. Foam rolling of the posterior line including the calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Correction: Focus should be placed on strengthening and stretching the lower leg (eccentric heel drops/drills where heels must lightly touch the ground). Also be sure to follow a program with appropriate increases in mileage and intensity. If a chronic issue, many repetitions of eccentric strengthening and calf stretching will help.

Patellofemoral Pain (Runner’s Knee)-

  • Symptom: Pain beneath the kneecap – often worse after periods of sitting or descending stairs.
  • Cause: A result of overuse/overload or poor running mechanics including overstriding or overpronating. Biomechanical dysfunction seen with weak quadriceps and hips and tight hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and IT band.
  • Treatment: Rest and ice as needed and cross training as tolerated.
  • Correction: Focus on strengthening and mobilization with strength exercises targeting the quadriceps and hips and foam rolling of the entire lower body. Check stride rate and try to adjust your stride to match up with the goal of 180 strides per minute to reduce the force impact and excessive vertical oscillation.

IT Band Syndrome-

Your iliotibial band (IB) runs along the outside of your thigh from your hip to your knee. It helps stabilize and move the knee joint.

  • Symptom: Often described as a stabbing pain near the side of the knee and inflammation/tenderness along the band.
  • Cause: Motions that result in repetitive inward rotation overwork the IT Band. Factors include worn out shoes, downhill running, running on angled surfaces, or weak glutes leading to poor running form.
  • Treatment: Take a few days off from running and cross train. Stretch, massage, and foam roll and ice as needed. Check shoes for excessive wear and make sure to replace every 300-400 miles.
  • Correction: Regular glute strengthening and foam rolling to improve form. Include different running surfaces and change directions if it is a banked surface.

Shin Splints-

  • Symptom: A general term to summarize pain in the shin area of the lower leg. A result of inflammation of the muscle, tendons, and bone tissue of the tibia. Oftentimes feels worse in the morning because the soft tissue tightens overnight.
  • Cause: Most common a result of “too much, too soon” with a sudden spike in volume or intensity. Improper footwear, tight muscles, and over pronation can also contribute.
  • Treatment: Rest as needed and cross training as tolerated. Ice your shin area and stretch your calves/Achilles tendon.
  • Correction: Purchase proper footwear (stability shoe if needed) and replace if worn out. Run on a variety of surfaces and avoid concrete when you return to running. Slowly return to running and build your mileage appropriately.

**If you have a hot spot when you press on your shin (one spot that is extremely painful), if it feels better in the morning, or if the pain increases as you continue to run, you should have it examined by a doctor. Stress fractures will oftentimes first present as shin splints and they need immediate attention.**

Always seek a doctor for medical advice. Thank you to my colleague Julie for assisting me with this information.

Xo, Pam

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars


Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.

It’s fall time – which to me means pumpkins, hot coffee, and vests. This recipe is easy to make and so delicious – I promise you won’t even guess it has beans in it! The only thing I recommend is do not eat them cold- if you store them in the fridge just hear them up quick before eating.

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c peanut butter

Dry ingredients

  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9×9 pan.
  2. In a food processor- mix all of the wet ingredients well. Then add all of the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips and continue to blend.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in dish and bake 28-30 minutes.

Breaking Out of a Running Funk

For the past few weeks, I have NOT wanted to run. This is a new feeling for me. I have had highs and lows during a training cycle, but never a period of time where I dreaded running. Even my short easy runs I had to talk myself through one mile at a time. I was ready to throw in the towel on the marathon but then I remembered that I am not a quitter. I needed to just power through until a hit my stride again.  I needed a couple strong runs to begin to get me back on track, especially a solid long run. Yesterday I went out and did my 18 miler on a dreary wet day and nailed it! I hit my goal paces and finished with a 9:10 average! I was able to push through a huge mental block and I am so excited for the next six weeks.

Here are my 3 tips to break out of a running funk.

  1. Surround yourself with a support system. I know I have talked about it several times before, but having a running coach is the best decision I have made for my running. I need that person to help guide me when I feel lost and to encourage me when I feel down. She believes in me when I don’t believe in myself (Thanks RacePace Jess). Find a coach that matches your personality and training style and you’ll never look back.
  2. Lose the training route. I love living in Long Beach and I have covered more than 1000 miles while living here. For a city that is no longer than 4 miles long on an island that is probably about 10 miles long, that is a lot of back and forth. Yesterday I scrapped my usual route and just ran. I had no idea where I was going, I just made random turns and round up exploring places I had never seen before.
  3. Download a new playlist. I have my usual list but I went with a completely new playlist with a lot of remixes. Every song was a surprise and made it fun!

 

Here’s to the last 6 weeks before the NYC marathon!

Xo, Pam

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


Wet Ingredients:

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1/2c peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry 

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a bread loaf pan. 

2. Place wet ingredients in mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and continue to mix.

3. Fold in chocolate chips except save a few for the! Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes.

Recipe Adapted from Rachl Mansfield

A Decade Long Search is Over!


As a female my least favorite thing to shop for are sports bras. Regardless of what brand I try or where I go, they never seem to fit my 32DD chest. For over a decade I have tested what feels like every brand in existence. I have tried Oakley, Nike, Under Armour, lululemon, Athleta, Brooks, Moving Comfort, Fabletics, Asics, Victoria’s Secret, Champion, and the list goes on and on. I’ve paid from anywhere from $20 all the way to $80 and not a single one was tight enough around the band while providing me enough support. So my temporary solution was to double up on two Nike bras until I found a better solution.

To be fair- I did have some requirements that immediately eliminate some bras. My perfect sports bra must:

  • Be a racerback. I don’t do over the shoulder straps – I don’t like the way they feel when I’m lifting or running and most of my workout shirts are racerback so they don’t look as pretty.
  • Easy to put on. I am not a contortionist. I can not twist my body in weird positions in order to put on a sports bra. Especially after doing an upper body workout when it is already almost impossible to remove any shirt.
  • Have an adjustable band. I’ve realized that since I have a smaller rib circumference that I really need an adjustable band. Elastic bands just are not going to give me the fit I want.

I finally found the bra for me – and there is no going back. For the past 8 months, I have put Sweaty Betty’s Ultra Run Bra thru tempo runs, long runs, and HIIT sessions. The support and adjustability has made it perfect for every session. I feel like there is no bounce and fits me just right around my ribs. It was also one of the bras that I ran in shirtless this summer. Sweaty Betty has some new colors in stock so head over and try one out! My other top two bras are the Pure Practice by lululemon (no longer in stock) and the Hulabraloo by Athleta. 

What are your favorite sports bras? Let me know your favorite!
*This is no way a sponsored post – I just wanted to share the answer to my decade long quest!*
Xo, Pam