Running is a great form of exercise, recreation, and sport participation for adults, adolescents, and children. Whether alone or in a team environment, running, when done properly, can enhance physical fitness, coordination, sense of accomplishment and physical and emotional development. However, running under adverse conditions or with inadequate clothing and equipment can cause a variety of injuries and physical stress.
Signs that you may be injured or need to alter or stop your running include:
- Pain or discomfort while running
- Pain at rest
- Inability to sleep
- Easily experiencing shortness of breath (exercise asthma)
- Headaches during or after running
- Dizziness or lightheaded feeling any time
Common running injuries include:
- Knee injuries—kneecap pain, tendonitis
- Lower leg pain—shin splints, stress fractures, calf problems
- Foot and ankle injuries—ankle sprain, heel pain,plantar fasciitis (bottom of foot pain), toe injuries
- Pelvic and hip injuries—muscle pulls, growth plate stress injuries, tendonitis, groin pain, buttock pain
- Heat injuries—sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, stroke
- Skin injuries—blisters or heat rash
How to prevent running injuries:
- Planning Goals: talk about running with your physical therapist or a running coach; determine the reason (goal) for why you are running (e.g., fitness, recreation, training, competition); develop a running plan and strategy that is compatible with your goal and your current level of fitness.
- Prepare to Run: hydrate well, warm up
- Wear proper attire: consider the weather, proper fitting socks/shoes, and possibly arch supports
- Safe locations and times: adults should know where their child or athlete is running and when to expect them back; running on a track is better for beginners; run with a partner; stay in well-lit areas; don't wear headphones if running near traffic; avoiding steep hills at least initially
- Run in safe weather conditions: prevent heat injuries or cold injuries by monitoring the weather; avoid running in temps over 90 degrees; avoid running in high humidity; avoid running in freezing weather
Physical therapists knowledgeable in gait/running analysis can provide information and education on footwear, running mechanics, arch supports, injury prevention, and rehabilitation if you have an injury. All of our PTs at Biojunction Sports Therapy are knowledgeable in these areas. If you know a young runner that is injured, please visit our profile, our website, or call us for more information on how we can help!
Information for this article was taken from STOPSportsInjuries.org (Youth Running handout)