How to avoid common marathon injuries

With the London marathon coming up in October, we’re guessing most runners are halfway through their training schedule. While marathon running promotes a healthy lifestyle, its physical demand on your body can also lead to injuries that go beyond tight muscles or sore legs. 

It’s helpful to be aware of the most common injuries so that you can protect yourself against them as much as possible. Read on to discover how to avoid common marathon injuries and how we can help treat your sports injury in Twickenham

Please bear in mind that although the information and tips in this article are helpful in treating common marathon injuries, for specific advice and guidance, please contact your GP or physiotherapist for a professional assessment.

Common marathon running injuries

It’s natural for runners to experience sore legs, tight muscles or other bodily aches, but could your pain be something more? Here are some common running-related injuries to watch out for: 

Shin splints

Shin splints affect the front, inner parts of your lower legs. Symptoms include a dull pain along your shinbone, tenderness when touched, mild swelling and pain that intensifies when exercising. 

Shin splints usually occur due to biomechanical issues combined with increasing your training (load) faster than your tissues can adapt.  Footwear and road running can also contribute. 

ITB syndrome

This running injury causes a sharp pain on the outer side of your leg, just above your knee. It develops when the iliotibial (IT) band, which is the long piece of connective tissue that runs from your outer hip to your knee, becomes inflamed due to overuse. You may notice that the pain gets worse when you bend your knee. 

Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is when there are changes occurring with the tendon that connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. It is different from tendonitis as it is not inflammatory and is consequently treated differently.  

It usually occurs after changing your training too quickly, as with most of the conditions in this topic. Other signs to watch out for include swelling, pain and discomfort around your heel. 

Runner’s knee 

Runner’s knee can be mild or painful, depending on how severe it is. You’ll notice swelling or an aching pain around your knee cap (patella) that will likely get worse when walking downhill or climbing stairs. You may also notice a popping sound on movement after a long period of being stationary. 

Plantar fasciitis

This is one of the most common foot injuries for runners. Plantar fasciitis starts off as inflammation, which subsequently can lead to thickening of the tissue on the bottom of your foot. It tends to develop when increasing the intensity or distance you run too quickly as this puts added stress on your fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds and holds your bones and muscles in place). You may notice that the pain feels worse in the mornings or after prolonged activity. 

Tips to avoid injury

Wear proper footwear

Not all footwear is created equal. Investing in proper shoes and socks is a key part of crossing the finish line healthy and happy. 

Warm up and cool down

Taking time for a 5 or 10 minute warm up and cool down is a crucial step for preventing injury. Dynamic stretches are great for warming up, while exercises that help your muscles relax work well for cooling down. 

Cross train

Variety is the spice of life. Varying your training ensures that you achieve a healthy balance in your workouts so that you don’t place excessive stress on one area of your body. 

Monitor your mileage 

It’s important that you don’t build your mileage up too quickly. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend increasing your weekly mileage by a maximum of 10% each week during training. But it’s important to listen to your body and see how you feel. 

Treat your injuries 

While it may be tempting to ‘push through the pain’, this can lead to long-term negative consequences. Treating injuries, even minor ones, can reduce the risk of exacerbating the pain and help you recover as quickly as possible. 

Get in touch

If you’re dealing with tight muscles, experiencing chronic pain or struggling with a sports injury, we can help. Please feel free to get in touch by calling us on 020 8898 1231. Our professional practitioners will be happy to assist you on your healing journey or answer any of your questions.