Most runners at some point in their training will be affected by an injury. Injuries can range from mild to severe. Some require no time off of training, and some may require you to stop running completely.
Many athletic injuries are preventable and treatable. A basic understanding of the causes of injuries can help to avoid them in the first place and minimize any setbacks that these injuries may cost you.
Causes of Injury
- Macro trauma: These are obvious injuries such as dislocations, fractures, and acute sprains and strains.
- Micro trauma: This is insidious, unseen damage, unrecognized by the athlete that occurs over time. Micro trauma is divided into two categories, intrinsic and extrinsic.
- Intrinsic micro trauma: This includes such things as misalignments in the body, inflexibility, muscle imbalances, muscle weakness, instability and in coordination.
- Extrinsic micro trauma: These are issues such as training errors, equipment problems, environmental adversity, and technique errors.
Micro trauma tends to result in overuse injuries. An overuse injury occurs when the ability of the body to repair itself cannot keep up with the wear and tear stresses placed upon it.
If there is no obvious trauma involved when you get injured, it is likely an overuse injury, and it is important to find the cause for treatment and prevention.
Here is a short checklist to look for extrinsic micro trauma:
- Have I recently increased my mileage?
- Have I recently changed the types of workouts?
- Have I recently changed my shoes?
- Have I not changed my shoes for a long time?
- Have training conditions changed?
- Have I begun cross training?
Intrinsic micro trauma is more difficult to identify, and usually requires a visit to a healthcare provider familiar with sports injuries.
5 Injury Prevention Tips
- Obtain proper footwear, especially if you over pronate or over supinate.
- Build up gradually to increased mileage or intensity.
- Do proper warm up, cool down, stretching and strengthening routines.
- Pay attention to aches and pains.
- If the problem persists, get help.
One of the most common things I hear is, “I thought it would go away!” So it is essential that runners have a basic grasp of how injuries occur, and incorporate some of these strategies to have a less injury prone running experience.