Most running injuries come from overuse, says Dr. Jeff Harrison of the Calton/Harrison Clinic at McKay-Dee Hospital.
“The most common injury that I end up seeing is anterior knee pain, or patellofemoral pain syndrome,” he says.
Also known as “Runner’s knee”, patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused through irritation where the kneecap rests on the thighbone. The result is pain that can be dull or sharp and sudden or chronic. Runner’s knee is what is known as a repetition injury and is caused through overuse says Harrison.
“It’s typically when people are running downhill, people get excited this time of year and they up their mileage and their body starts to break down,” he says.
“The biggest thing you can do to prevent injuries like this is to start out slowly and wear proper shoes. If you are having knee pain, get in with a therapist and have them look at your biomechanics. We’d rather prevent injuries early on so you don’t feel that kind of pressure.”
Backing off and training slowly can prevent injuries such as runner’s knee, but if you do fall into repetition injuries, the best treatment is simply rest.
“These problems are typically progressive, so if your knee is hurting you need to back off your training,” says Harrison.
Another common injury is medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints. As with runners’ knee, shin splints are a repetition injury caused by overtraining.
“The tendons on the front of the shin become inflamed from building up your mileage too quickly,” says Harrison. “A slow progression of mileage and paying attention to any pain is key. When you are training you really shouldn’t feel bone pain. It should be all muscular pain. If you are feeling bone pain you should see a therapist.”
Easing into your mileage and ensuring you are sufficiently warmed up before any aerobic training can help to prevent injuries and ensure you reach your peak performance. Repetition injuries can be frustrating, and the only real treatment is rest. Building your training regimen slowly and being aware of your body is key to performing your best.