Running is fun, challenging, energising, stress relieving and a great form of exercise. Unfortunately, injury is not uncommon for runners to experience. Our in-house osteopath and personal trainer, Jared Cox, discusses ways to avert injury and speed up recovery.
According to research, runners have a 20 – 90% chance of developing a lower extremity injury from running regularly (1). Therefore, taking the necessary steps to prevent an injury from happening, or properly managing a current injury, is paramount in preventing subsequent injuries and future complications.
As an osteopath, I see many different sports related injuries, running being a big one. It’s important for me to know what is causing the pain or dysfunction being experienced and how to appropriately manage the patient so they can:
1. Return to normal function as quick as possible and; 2. Prevent future injures from happening again.
Treating running injuries with osteopathy
Ideally, an Osteopath will tell a patient what is causing their pain (diagnosis), how long they can expect it to take before they start to feel better (prognosis) and what the patient can do in the meantime to help the issue improve.
Treatment will involve hands on techniques - be prepared to have joints and tissues moved around and pressed on. These techniques can reduce pain, increase mobility, stimulate the nervous system and influence the circulatory and lymphatic system, all contributing to a quicker recovery.
Functional exercises and lifestyle advice may be prescribed as a way to give the patient more of an active role in their own recovery, and future prevention, and reduce their length of injury time.
A management strategy should also be developed that includes short, medium and long-term goals. This may include education on pain as well as advice and resources to support the patient through their entire recovery process.
Tips to prevent injury
Unfortunately, injury is often the first indication of a faulty training program or running pattern, so patients should be taught to recognize early symptoms of injury and correct them before an injury occurs (2).
One of the most common causes of running injury is excessive mileage or running in excess of your norm (3).
Keeping a training log can help prevent this issue. Logging your mileage weekly and developing a training schedule that gradually increases your distance over time rather than running a lot further on a particular day just because you’re feeling good can be a wise strategy.
Training all year round is another common factor found in running injuries. It’s important to take a break from your typical training routine once in a while. That doesn’t mean sitting on the sofa and eating crisps! It means using active rest as a training tool, in other words choosing a different activity or sport that will support your fitness levels but challenge different muscles and tissues.
To stretch or not to stretch?
The debate about stretching for injury prevention continues. However, research DOES show that occasional stretching increases the risk of injury. The fix? If you’re going to stretch do it at every training session not intermittently, otherwise don’t stretch at all (4).
If you feel pain or discomfort while you’re running, or sense that your running ability is lacking in some way, come speak to one of our osteopaths and discuss how we can help take your running to the next level!
Jared practises as an osteopath at Core Clapton on Mondays and Wednesdays. Coming from a background in personal training and nutrition, Jared is a keen runner and likes to keep up to date with the latest research into the prevention and treatment of sports injuries.
Want to find out more about treating and preventing running injuries? You're invited to an evening talk on Thursday 7th March at Core Clapton with Carole O'Leary, Level 3 Personal Trainer and founder of Coffee Run Hackney, and Danny Orchard, osteopath and founder of Core Clapton.
Read more and sign up for your free place here Understanding Injury - Prevention and Treatment
1. Van Gent, R.N. et al., 2007. Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: A systematic review. Sport en Geneeskunde.
2. Johnston, C.A.M. et al., 2003. Preventing running injuries. Practical approach for family doctors. Canadian Family Physician.
3. Fields, K.B. et al., 2010. Prevention of running injuries. Current Sports Medicine Reports.
4. Fokkema, T. et al., 2017. Preventing running-related injuries using evidence-based online advice: The design of a randomised-controlled trial. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine.