There are some injuries that always crop up for both beginners and experienced runners. GP Juliet McGrattan treats the top five worst offenders so you can spend more time on the road and less in the waiting room.
1.LOWER BACK PAIN
PROBLEM: Running is causing backache in the lumbar region.
DOCTOR’S LOWDOWN: Common in those who sit at a desk all day, beginners and those with a poor running posture.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Lots of exercises to strengthen your glutes and core. Get up frequently from your desk. Get a gait analysis and retrain your running posture.
SEE YOUR GP IF: The pain doesn’t ease, you have any numbness or weakness in your legs or any loss of bladder control.
PROBLEM: Feeling tired all the time.
DOCTOR’S LOWDOWN: Often caused by overtraining or a hectic life.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Eat well, get plenty of sleep. Make time to relax and have rest days. Learn to say ‘no’ when necessary.
SEE YOUR GP IF: There’s no obvious reason for your tiredness, you feel unwell, low in mood or it’s just not improving with rest.
PROBLEM: Pain in the heel or sole of the foot causing hobbling.
DOCTOR’S LOWDOWN: The tissues (fascia) supporting the arch of your foot become inflamed and painful. Common if you’ve increased your miles, started running on a harder surface or if your shoes lack support.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Use anti-inflammatory painkillers and ice for the pain. Rest, stretch out your Achilles and roll a golf ball under your foot arch. Restart your running slowly and wear supportive shoes.
SEE YOUR GP IF: It doesn’t settle after a couple of weeks.
PROBLEM: Pain in front or behind the knee when running.
DOCTOR’S LOWDOWN: Runner’s knee is common. Increasing your running too quickly, not warming up well and wearing poorly fitting trainers can all play a part.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Put ice on your knee, stretch well, rest until it feels better and then do some knee strengthening exercises. Have a gait analysis when you buy running shoes.
SEE YOUR GP IF: Your knee is swollen, the pain is severe or does not ease after a week.
5. SHIN PAIN
PROBLEM: Pain in the shins when running which gradually becomes worse.
DOCTOR’S LOWDOWN: This could be shin splints, it will just get worse if you try to ignore it. It is usually caused by increasing your training too quickly and wearing incorrect trainers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Rest, don’t run for at least two weeks, put ice on your shins and stretch regularly. Wear the correct trainers for your running style.
SEE YOUR GP IF: You aren’t better after three weeks, the pain is severe or if there is any swelling over your shins