Running tips for injuries: 6 recovery tips that can’t fail
Whether you’re a runner, swimmer, or a gym fanatic at some point in your life you may experience an injury. Lengthy layoffs can be frustrating as they can interrupt your training schedule and they can be the catalyst for you to get repeated injuries if you don’t use good recovery techniques. For example, if you break one leg on a chair and continued sitting on it, it would only be a matter of time before the other three legs were damaged. Your body is the same and will only compensate for a weak joint for so long. The quicker you can get back to full fitness the better, and with proper rehabilitation you can reduce the risk of altering your body’s mechanics and picking up other injuries further down the line. In order to help you back on the road to recovery we have looked at some ways that will help you recover quicker and we will advise you on how to use these techniques to recover from some of the most common injuries. Illiotibial band Friction syndrome (ITB syndrome) Illiotibial band friction syndrome is when you get a pain on the outside of the knee. It can be caused by your IT band becoming too tight, and the muscles in your hips becoming too weak. The IT band is a muscle that connects into the bum and down into the knee down the side of the leg. Steve Perry who is a physiotherapist (www.wimbledonphysio.co.uk) says “Changing your running shoes” can be a key to recovering from this injury, as often it is a problem with the body’s mechanics that cause the problem. “ITB friction syndrome is caused by tightness of the IT band so a thorough stretching programme is also essential for a quick recovery”. The key muscles to stretch are your IT band, which is at the side of your legs; your quads, which are the front of the legs and muscles in the buttocks. Patellar tendonitis Patellar tendonitis is when you have pain in the knee because your knee cap is being pulled to the outside of the knee causing a clicking pain in the join. This injury will cause pain in the knee but it will be possible to still train with this pain if you use hydrotherapy. This is because the support from the water takes away any impact you would have on land. The temperature of the pool is 35 degrees which allows the muscle to relax and helps to reduce pain. “Hydrotherapy also increases blood circulation, reduces swelling and increases recovery time as you are able to run, jump and improve balance in the pool” says Steve Perry. This recovery technique is great for all types of lower body injuries and will allow you to maintain some type of fitness while being injured. Calf strain You may overuse your calf if you do allot of running which could cause a calf strain. Steve Perry suggests that you rest it, compress your calf with ice, and elevate it for 48 hours. After 48 hours try to move the ankle so that your calf and ankle don’t become stiff, you may do this by sitting on a chair with your feet on the ground and performing a calf raise( by performing a tip toe). “Only do this if it is pain free”. Also stretch out your calf but the stretch should not be painful, and the last stage should be to get a massage. Neck pain When you run you may experience neck pain and the way to relieve this neck pain is to first of all stretch some of the muscles around your neck. One stretch you can do is to close your mouth and lean your head back as far as it can go. This will stretch the front of the neck. You can also lean your head to the side and place your hand that is on the same side your head is leaning towards on the side of your head. Once these muscles have been stretched out then you need to learn how to set your shoulders using the same principles from the shoulder impingement and learn to maintain your head in an upright position instead of leaned forward. Lower back pain It’s wise to take any pain in the lower back seriously as this is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Lower back pain can be caused by a number of different things ranging from weak glutes, sitting at a desk, playing a sport that places strain on the back and many more. The first thing to do is to increase your core strength because the abdominals help to protect the lower back. Pilates is one of the most effective ways to recover quickly from lower back pain because it “focuses on the muscles of the lower abdominals and lower back” says physiotherapist and lumbo-pelvic-hip specialist Sally Critien (www.physiowoking.co.uk). “Real Pilates should only have 8-10 people in a class, and not 20-30 people”, because of the precision required in each movement. Try to look for private classes by private Pilates practitioners. Lateral Ankle sprains We all know that eating the right foods at the right time can help refuel and energise the body for optimum performance, but it can also help you to recover faster from a lateral ankle sprain. “Rest, appropriate stretches and extra Vitamin C and zinc will help definitively with the tissue repair and an awareness of the cause of the injury is critical” says Doctor David Thomas DC (www.eletewater.co.uk). “However, as always, optimum hydration and correct electrolyte balance is also critical not only to optimum performance but also to optimum recovery”.
Gerald has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise, Nutrition & Health. He is an ASA qualified swimming teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Gerald has developed his own exclusion diet, which he uses to help his clients lose weight.