The 5 most common marathon running injuries
With spring finally in the air, we suspect many of you will be heading out to warm up those marathon muscles. Whether you’re in London, Stirling, Milton Keynes or a rock ‘n’ roll marathoner heading out to Liverpool, training on the approach to marathon season is key. To ensure you’re in the best shape possible to pound all 26 miles of pavement, it’s important to gradually build up your training, especially if you’ve been less active over winter.
We treat marathon runners for a number of common training injuries. If you need physiotherapy for a sports injury in Twickenham, our practitioners can help you get back on track in no time. Our guide below explains the 5 most common marathon running injuries and how we can help you recover in time for the big day.
The iliotibial or IT band is a long tendon running along the outside of your hip and attaching below the knee. The band can tighten if it gets irritated from rubbing against your thigh bone, which can occur as a result of weakness or muscle imbalance around the hip, the type of surface you’re running on or less than ideal biomechanics of your lower limb . This can cause pain and sometimes swelling in your knee.
While stretching this area can be difficult, the good news is that soft tissue release can help ease tension and swelling, and address muscle weakness or biomechanical insufficiencies, which can often lead to a full recovery. Seeking professional advice on your running technique can also help you avoid the condition recurring.
Your Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in the body and connects your calf muscles to the heel bone. The tissue absorbs the impact of your body weight each time your foot hits the ground. Increased stress on the Achilles tendon can sometimes cause pain and consequently need treatment, particularly if you’re continuing to build up your strength and stamina in time for a marathon.
Gentle stretching of the calf muscles and specific exercises to gradually restore strength to your Achilles tendon will aid healing and may allow you to continue training. Your physiotherapist can guide you through the most effective exercises to target the area.
This is when the tissue on the underside of your foot, running from your heel to your toes, becomes inflamed and eventually thickens. This can cause a stabbing sensation in your foot. It often occurs if you’ve just reintroduced running or exercise back into your routine or pushed yourself too hard too soon.
Gentle exercises can strengthen and stretch out the affected tissue and build resilience in the area. Strengthening your Achilles tendon and lower leg muscles can also help support and ease pressure on the underside of your feet. Shockwave therapy has also been shown to be very helpful and is likely to speed up your recovery.
Shin splints refers to pain down the inside of your shin bone, caused by pounding your legs on a hard surface. It can range from mild discomfort to more severe, activity limiting pain.
If caught early, it’s possible to allow the condition to settle through gentle calf stretches, swapping your running for cross training or non-impact cardio for a few days and varying your running surfaces.
Massage can also help to reduce tension in the area and, in more severe cases, shockwave therapy can also be beneficial.
Lower back pain
A common complaint among runners is lower back pain. This can be caused by a weak core, which results in poorer muscle control and consequently, places greater stress on your spine. Slouching and stooping can also irritate the joints in your spine.
Gentle stretching of your hips and buttocks can help ease tension in the area and increase flexibility. A sports massage can also loosen up the muscles you need to use to strengthen your back when running.
If you suspect that you’re affected by any of the common marathon running injuries mentioned above, don’t ignore your discomfort. Call us on 0208 898 1213 and our friendly practitioners will help you on the road to recovery and all the way to the finish line, if possible.
Remember, this is general advice; for individual training and rehabilitation advice you’ll need an assessment from a professional.