We know that running gives you both pain and joy. Running gets you fit and keeps the weight down, it clears your mind, it works your body. We also know how much an injury can slow you down, both physically and mentally. At Physiohaus, we want our Physiotherapists to accurately assess and treat the reasons that you have been limited in your running program.

Looking back through history, we evolved to be able to run, and to be able to run long distances. The human body is a mechanical masterpiece in many of the ways in which it can store and reuse energy. For instance, your Achilles tendon can store up to 30% of the energy your calf muscle generates, and like an elastic band, ‘snap’ back to help lift your heel off the ground as we run. These changes let our bodies run efficiently for long periods.

Why Do Runners Get Injured So Easily?

Just because we are made to run doesn’t make us great runners. For a number of reasons, many runners develop injuries each year.

At any one time approximately 25% of runners will have an injury. Most of the time it comes down to a change in workload. Given enough time, our bodies are very good at adapting to increased workload.

If we gradually increase the distances that we run, the muscle, tendon, and bone cells can respond to this increased workload and increase their ‘strength’ and endurance. If, however, we increase this workload too quickly, these structures start to break down.

Changes in workload can be due to a change in:

  • Distance / time / intensity of training
  • Terrain, (more hills, harder ground)
  • Footwear
  • Running technique

Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running is sometimes hard on the muscles and joints; especially if you ignore early injury signs.

How Can Physiotherapy Help Runners?

Your physio will look at a number of areas to determine what may have led to your injury, including:

  • your running biomechanics - using video analysis at the Physiohaus Run Lab - we can slow down and look at the various components of your running technique
  • footwear advice suitable to your foot
  • training load - what is good, too much, too little
  • joint range, muscle length and overall flexibility
  • muscle strength: core control, foot arch control, hip, knee and lower limb control.

Once your physio has identified the factors that have led to your running injury, they will look to work with you to get you back into running as soon as possible. Your running injury may require a short period of rest in order to allow some healing to occur, during which time cross-training may be a good option to maintain your fitness. Your physiotherapist who has a special interest in running injuries is the best person to advise you.

How to Avoid Running Injuries

The best way to avoid running injuries is to prevent them. These tips can help both novice and elite runners prevent running injuries:

  • Perform an individually customised warm up and cool down routine specific to your body's needs.
  • Wear footwear suitable for your foot structure
  • Plan your training to avoid overtraining
  • Increase your training by no more than 10% per week

If you do develop an ache or pain, it is likely to be a running injury. If you are not sure how to best manage your running injury, please consult your physiotherapist at Physiohaus for their professional assessment and treatment plan. They may also introduce you to our RunLab that focuses on detailed assessment of biomechanics. For running injuries - call Physiohaus London.