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Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just starting out with a few gentle laps around the block, you’ve probably felt the highs and lows of running. It’s an awesome way to stay fit, clear your mind, and enjoy the outdoors. But, whilst it has lots of benefits, it can sometimes be a bit tough on our bodies. That's where sports therapy can keep us moving, help us recover, and even boost our overall performance. But how does it do this? Keep reading to find out! 

Common running injuries 

Running on hard surfaces like roads and pavements is convenient, but it can also lead to a few pesky injuries. Let's break down some of the most common ones. 

Knee issues 

Patellofemoral Syndrome 
 
Ever heard of runner's knee? It's a fancy term for patellofemoral syndrome. Basically, it happens when the cartilage under your kneecap gets a bit cranky from overuse. If you feel pain around your kneecap, especially when climbing stairs or sitting for too long, you might be dealing with this. 
 
IT Band Syndrome 
 
Then there's the lovely IT Band Syndrome (ITBS). The IT band is this tough piece of tissue running from your hip to your shin. When it gets tight or inflamed, it can cause pain on the outside of your knee. Not fun at all. 

Ankle issues 

Sprains 
 
Ankle sprains are super common, especially if you’re running on uneven surfaces. They happen when the ligaments in your ankle stretch too far and tear. Ouch! 
 
Plantar Fasciitis 
 
Plantar fasciitis is another biggie. This one’s all about the bottom of your foot. If you wake up with a dull ache or stabbing pain in your heel, especially with your first steps in the morning, this might be the culprit. 

Lower back issues 

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunctions 
 
Your sacroiliac (SI) joints connect your pelvis to your lower spine. When these joints act up, you can get some serious lower back pain, sometimes radiating down to your legs. It feels like a dull ache or sometimes a sharp pain. 
 
Facet Joint Restrictions 
 
Facet joints are small joints in your spine. When they get restricted or inflamed, they can cause lower back pain and stiffness. Not exactly what you want when you're trying to crush your run. 

Sports therapy approaches 

These injuries can be a pain (literally!) to deal with, but sports therapy can not only help to treat them, but it can also help to prevent them in the first place. 
 
Here’s how sports therapy can benefit runners: 

Tailored rehabilitation programs 

Every runner and every injury is unique. Sports therapists create custom rehab programs to target your specific issues. They’ll give you exercises to strengthen weak areas, improve flexibility, and fix imbalances. 

Importance of gradual training increases 

One of the best tips out there is the 10% rule: don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week. This helps prevent overuse injuries by giving your body time to adapt. Slow and steady wins the race, right? 

Nutrition and rest for injury prevention 

Don’t forget to fuel your body with the right nutrients and plenty of rest. Your muscles repair and get stronger on rest days, so don’t skip them! Listen to your body – it knows what it needs. 

Prevention and maintenance 

Staying injury-free is the dream. Here are some tips to keep you running smoothly: 

Proper running form and technique 

Good running form is key. Keep an upright posture, gaze forward, land softly on your midfoot, and avoid overstriding. It can make a huge difference in reducing injury risk. 

Strengthening and stretching routines 

Adding strength training and stretching to your routine helps build resilience and flexibility. Focus on your core, hips, and legs, and stretch your calves, hamstrings, quads, and IT band regularly. 

Importance of appropriate footwear and surfaces 

Wearing the right shoes is crucial. Make sure they’re suited to your foot type and running style and replace them every 300-500 miles. Also, try to mix up your running surfaces. Running on grass or trails can be gentler on your joints compared to pavement. 

Final thoughts 

Sports therapy can seriously transform your running game. By addressing injuries quickly, following a solid rehab plan, and taking preventive measures, you can enjoy running for years to come. Remember, the key to peak performance and injury prevention is a balanced approach that includes proper training, rest, and support from sports therapy. Keep running, stay strong, and most importantly, have fun out there! 
 
 
 
Think sports therapy can benefit you and your running? Book an appointment with our friendly team today, we’d love to help! 
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