Running is becoming an increasingly popular path to working out for weekend warriors of all ages, shapes, sizes and skill levels. But if you don’t take proper precautions, listen to your body and heed the advice of medical experts, you may find yourself running on the fast track to pain.
Banner Orthopedic Surgery Specialists physician Michael Latteier, MD, urges all runners, regardless of their level of experience, to be mindful of the potential dangers of running.
“There’s no question that running is a great form of exercise, but it doesn’t come without risk.”
Latteier cites the following ailments as the most common faced by runners:
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain resulting from overuse)
- Stress fracture (pain caused by small cracks in the bones of the feet, ankles and lower legs resulting from repetitive stress that exceeds the body’s ability to repair itself)
- IT (iliotibial) band friction syndrome (pain on the outside of the knee)
- Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain in the front of the knee, generally around the kneecap)
The good news, he says, is that rest is often the best medicine for these injuries.
“The first step in treating any of these conditions is to rest, increase your stretching and make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear designed specifically for running.”
He notes that medical evaluation may be needed, particularly if symptoms do not improve within a few days. At that time, non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy or even surgery may be explored.
“The goal is to keep people running safely and avoid surgical intervention. This, however, requires that you pay attention to what your body is telling you and scale back your running to give it time to heal. Pushing through the pain will only cause more damage in the long run.”