Running is one of the most popular physical activities among all age groups in the United States. It’s also a sport people can do for life, as long as they take proper care of their body and consistently stay motivated to exercise.
If you have been a runner or athlete in any sort of track and field sport, and have been injured, you’re not alone. According to the latest research, nearly 8 in 10 runners will get injured at least once in a year.
Whether you’re the occasional weekend runner or a more avid participant in the sport, it’s important to look for ways to reduce your risk of injury and get back in shape after an injury.
To best understand how to prevent running related injuries, it helps to first identify what kinds of injuries runners typically experience. Some of the most common are:
- Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runners’ Knee)
- Patellar Tendonitis (Jumpers’ Knee)
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Hamstring Tear
- Achilles Tendonitis
Running injuries are common, and most of them are preventable. To prevent an injury from happening again, you need to know what caused it in the first place. It’s important to identify recurring injuries so you can figure out how to treat them.
Effective Treatment Options
If you’ve since been diagnosed with an injury or you’re experiencing symptoms that you presume may be a specific injury, it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately.
Effective treatment options commonly used for runner injuries include:
- Contrast therapy (hot and cold exposure)
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Muscle relaxants and pain relievers
- Non-steroidal injections
The type of treatment is dependent on the specific nature of the injury, and it’s best to seek personalized treatment specific to your injury. Your sports medicine specialist will be able to diagnose and recommend the best course of action for your injury.
Injury Prevention Tips for Track & Field Athletes
Although injuries can happen to anyone, especially competitive runners and track & field athletes, the nature of this sport is highly likely to yield injuries. It can be difficult in some cases to prevent such events from happening.
Preventative actions can still be implemented, and they are extremely helpful in reducing the chances of injury.
Below are the most effective preventative measures:
- Stretching (warming up & cooling down)
- Don’t overtrain
- Follow a slow progression plan (increase training volume strategically)
- Listen to your body
- Rest and recovery
- Implement a complementary strength training program
- Improve technique
The most common causes for injuries for runners and track & field athletes are overuse, overtraining, and lack of preventative rehabilitation and recovery. By following the recommended measures, athletes will put themselves in a much better position to prevent injuries.
Many track & field athletes and distance runners are likely to experience an injury at some point in their journey. The minute the symptoms of pain and discomfort develop, it’s best to seek early evaluation by a medical professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Additionally, it helps to use other at-home treatment techniques, such as rest, contrast therapy, and stretching. Preventative measures can also be the key to a continuous healthy career as a track and field athlete.