You can prevent most running injuries with the right knowledge and treatment, combined with smart training. Running is a repetitive sport and, as such, can put repetitive stress on your feet and ankles as well as the small muscles and tendons that support them.
As a runner, you can encounter a range of injuries during training and events. Foot and ankle injuries are a regular part of the sport for many runners.
There is good news, though! Most foot and ankle injuries are easily treatable without you having to be off your feet for too long. Additionally, you can prevent most running injuries with the right knowledge, treatment, and smart training.
Some foot and ankle injuries are more common among runners. At Advanced Foot and Ankle Wellness Center, Dr. Wawrzynek is skilled at treating running injuries.
Common Running Injuries
A wide range of common running injuries can impact your body. It is important to be aware of what types of injuries you can face as a runner so that you are aware of the symptoms and know when to get help.
An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle is injured. Some ankle sprains are worse than others. Ankle sprains are another common sports injury.
The severity of an ankle sprain depends upon the damage to the ligament. The ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. Multiple ligaments can also be damaged. An ankle sprain is not the same as a strain. An ankle sprain affects your muscles; an ankle strain impacts your ligaments.
A ligament is a band of tissue, kind of like rubber bands. They connect your bones and bind the joints together. An ankle sprain occurs when there is an injury to the lateral ligamentous complex. The lateral ligamentous complex comprises two ligaments, the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneofibular ligament. Both of these ligaments support the ankle.
If you suffer an ankle sprain, you want to get the ankle support you need for healing to get you back in action.
An ankle fracture is a common sports injury. It is often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone.
An ankle fracture can range in severity from an avulsion injury where small pieces of bone have been pulled off to a more severe shattering-type break of the tibia and fibula.
An ankle fracture requires special care and early diagnosis. The sooner an ankle fracture is taken care of, the sooner you can get back into action!
Achilles Tendon Rupture
An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear that occurs when the tendon is stretched beyond its capacity. A tendon is a tissue band connecting a muscle to a bone.
The Achilles tendon runs down from the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon, also called the “heel cord,” facilitates walking by helping raise the heel off the ground.
An Achilles tendon rupture can occur from falling, tripping, forceful jumping or pivoting, overstretching, or sudden running acceleration.
Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is characterized by a recurring “giving way” of the ankle’s outer (lateral) side. This “giving way” usually occurs when walking or engaging in other activities; however, sometimes, it can happen when simply standing around. This is a common condition that affects athletes and other individuals.
After repeated ankle sprains, chronic ankle instability often develops. Another underlying cause of ankle instability is flexible flat foot.
Symptoms of chronic ankle instability include:
- Feelings of wobbliness and instability in the ankle
- Chronic swelling and discomfort
- A repeated turning of the ankle, especially on uneven surfaces or when participating in sports
Achilles tendonitis is a common injury among athletes, particularly runners. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to the heel. It is the largest tendon in the body.
Since the Achilles tendon is used for numerous day-to-day activities, such as walking, running, climbing, and jumping, it is susceptible to injury and inflammation (Achilles tendonitis).
At Advanced Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, foot and ankle specialist Dr. Melissa Wawrzynek has extensive experience treating Achilles tendonitis.
What are the primary causes of Achilles tendonitis?
Overuse and placing too much stress on the tendon are the leading causes of Achilles tendonitis. Generally, the most significant risk factor for Achilles tendonitis is the sudden increase in intensity and frequency of exercise. This can result in the tightening of your calf muscles and result in Achilles tendonitis.
It is, therefore, essential to avoid unnecessary stress on the Achilles tendon. When you start exercising, you want to increase your activity gradually, not suddenly. This allows your body to adjust to your new level of activity.
When working out, it is also important to maintain your flexibility. Stretch your calf muscles before exercising to reduce the stress on the Achilles tendon.
Additionally, bone spurs (excess bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel) can rub against the tendon and contribute to Achilles tendonitis.