Running seems like a simple sport without much chance of injury. After all, how could you hurt yourself by putting one foot in front of the other? In reality, the great deal of stress placed on the body during running makes injuries very common. However, with the proper education and approach, you can recover quickly from injuries associated with running and take preventative measures to avoid future afflictions.
The Truth About Running Injuries
According to Smoothfitness.com, as quoted by Physical Therapy Web, 40 to 50 percent of an estimated 36 million runners experience at least one running injury. These painful injuries generally occur in the feet, legs or back. One common running injury is a back injury called spinal compression, which occurs when the force of the up-and-down running motion causes the spine to compress. Other injuries include groin pulls, shin splints and hamstring strains.
How to Avoid Running Injuries
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid injuries. For starters, stretching and warming up should be at the top of your list. When muscles are warm and loose, they are less likely to be injured while running. As part of warming up your muscles, you should walk before you run. Then try running on level surfaces, shortening your stride and wearing good running shoes. Finish with a walk to allow your muscles to cool down.
Getting adequate, restful sleep is an important component of the training and recovery cycle, and a way to help you avoid running injuries. Investing in a good mattress that was specifically made to improve back health can ensure you aren’t neglecting this essential part of training. Restful sleep requires optimal pillow and bed selections, so do your research and find if firm, soft or therapeutic models are right for you.
If Pain or Injuries Occur
Unfortunately, even if you take all the necessary running precautions, a running injury can still occur. As mentioned, lower back injuries are especially common for runners. Also, back injuries and back pain in general are common so you need to know how to find the best foam roller, whether you are a runner or not. If you have a sore back to begin with, running will only make it worse. It is important to make sure you are healthy before you run.
According to Spine-health.com, lower back pain can be greatly reduced or eliminated through gentle stretching, ice packs, anti-inflammatory or pain medication, and good old-fashioned rest.