Runners – are you in the eighty percent?

Almost 80% of runners will sustain a lower limb injury – EIGHTY PERCENT!!! Yikes! This makes running the most injury causing form of sport or exercise out there. With the most common complaints knee and hip related. Now don’t get me wrong, I not here to nay-say running, in fact I love running! I just did the SMH half – on woefully inadequate training and my knees hurt for a full two weeks. I had to take a break from running and other things that I love like squats, and it serves me right really. But it reminded me that I’m not alone. You see, the special thing about running is the repetition, it’s the same movement again and again, and again for however long you run for. Repeated exactly the same way however many times per week you decide to go running. And this my friends means that there is very little room for error in running; because what might be a teensy tiny little error gets repeated so many times that there is bound to be a breakdown somewhere along the line.

When a patient comes in with a running related injury, there are two main culprits:
1) training errors
2)biomechanics faults
Sometimes we can point the finger at one or the other; most often it’s a little of both.

Training errors
This is generally a case of too much, too fast. Let’s take my recent half marathon for example. I was running once per week for 5-7kms and got all enthusiastic and decided to run 21kms with 8 weeks to train. Genius over here gets blisters after 4 weeks (doing something that wasn’t in my training program doh!), and couldn’t really run for four weeks (they were really really bad), does half marathon then has sore knees for two weeks… Conclusion: Jess was a bit dumb! But it’s often a little more subtle than this, not including a variety of speeds and gradients in a training program which change the loading on muscles and joints, or even a more gradual increase in running over a longer period of time, if not done smartly, can result in grief.

Biomechanical faults
These are usually problems with neuromuscular control, or deficits in lumbo-pelvic strength and the result is generally a less efficient run, and, over time as stress is placed on certain joints and structures, injury! Most commonly around the hip or knee, but especially calf/ankles and shin pain, or plantarfascia issues.

The funniest part about running injuries is they will often gradually progress to a point where they become too painful to run anymore and then take quite a while to heal and recover, BUT often if we can catch them early enough and can modify training, or have only a very short break from running and still effectively treat and manage the injury. Let me repeat – if caught early and managed appropriately a lot of the time you can keep running – woohoo!

If you have any questions related to running, or injury, Claire and I both love running ourselves, and helping out other runners. Shoot us an email – we love to chat running – or come in and see us if you have an injury that needs sorting, or check out our running workshop on the 25th June.