Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Common Running Injuries, An Update on my (Current) Injury and Later...How to Avoid Running Injuries

A quick update on my injury. 

I have full blown ITBS on the left leg.  The pain is, at least for now, in one area, and that is to the outside of the knee, just below it actually, but barely.  There is some tenderness just up over the knee on the side as well, but minimal.  The pain below though is another story altogether.

The pain is bad.  Especially when walking down stairs.  It doesn't hurt to walk, but the most pain is when you even touch that area.  It is inflamed, a bit swollen and just hurts like a muthafucker.

I have been advised to not run on concrete if possible, definitely no hills and no speed work.  And to incorporate some walk breaks into my runs as well.  Thankfully KW is still 2 weeks away, so thats great news.  With proper recovery, I should be more or less good to go by then.  Until then I will just be running on the treadmill the majority of the time except for Saturdays longer runs.

I need to stretch (specifically for the ITB), ice at least once a day (preferably after running), take Aleve, get plenty of sleep and eat right.  I am also not supposed to cross my legs at work, and I do a few stretches at my desk when I think about it.

Thankfully I took a full 3 days off after the marathon, as that began the healing process.

I ran last night on the treadmill, stretched before and after, did core (also great for helping prevent injuries and recovering from them), foam rolled, and then iced.  I was pleased this morning when I left the house and going down the stairs wasn't as painful as it has been for the past week. 

Something is working.  Probably mostly the fact that I am not running more than 4-6 miles at a time and on soft surfaces, but all the rest of it is helping it too. 

One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to step back, admit something is wrong and do whatever it takes to correct it.  I have always been able to come back from an injury quickly due to my willingness to just do what is needed.  Some folks I know refuse to do what is needed and therefore sometimes miss out on what might have been ... or just get further injured and sometimes never make it back to the sport of running.

It truly sucks that this didn't even present itself until the Thursday before Houston, but it was minimal at best and I had no idea what was going on.  And it sucks even more that it decided to take a nose dive late in the race, but shit happens.  I made it through, without personal embarrassment, but yes still decidedly a bit disappointed as I had goal A in the bag.
Que sera sera...

So are you a hard ass when it comes to dealing with injury, not letting her ego and pride get bruised, and just train through the pain?  Or are you a stickler like me, and do everything by the book so that I can run again as soon as possible...or have you just ever gotten injured, said fuck it, and completely went into full on couch potato mode and taken way too much time to come back to the sport of running?


Running injuries are almost always due to overuse/overtraining.  This is developed over time until continuing to run is no longer an option (sometimes). 

Running injuries are very specific due to the repetitive nature of the sport. Injuries are caused either by the bodies own intrinsic factors or by extrinsic factors.

The body works on a closed chain system when running i.e. when the foot is in contact with the ground, the forces and mechanics are transmitted along the leg to the spine. This is repeated every step and means if anywhere along this chain is out of line then potential injuries can happen. 

They are factors from inside the body rather than outside injury risk factors. Everybody has their own individual mechanics, some better than others. Some break down more than others, and some never do. Everyone has their own unique threshold of injury.  Thankfully I have only had a handful of injuries and really only one of them had me not running for 2+ months (early 2009).

The most common problem is feet that collapse and overpronate causing the leg to turn in and pressure on the achilles, shin, knee, hip and spine (thus opening the door for any and all kinds of injuries).  And if you aren't in the right shoe (also one of the main causes of injury)...well... It has been my experience, over the course of running since late 2005, that because I got faster, stronger, etc., that at periods along the way, my gait and step changed.  I went from a neutral runner (when first starting out and run/walking, or running very slowly), to someone when I got a bit faster, I pronated badly and needed stability, to now being stronger and still yet a bit faster than before, I was in 'too much shoe' for the distance and the level of training that I was doing in 2011.  And because of these factors, each and every time I usually ended up with some sort of injury (late 2007, early 2009 and now with ITBS). 
Behold the Common Running Injury Chart!
Common Running Injuries

Out of the 7 listed above, I lay claim to:  Stress Fracture, Plantar, Knee, and now ITBS.  I also had chronic shin splint issues for years, but it never hurt until the pedicure lady wanted to massage my calves and that made me want to just cut her...running though?  Didn't bother them, except maybe once in a blue moon.

My Plantar is also chronic and goes in different levels of 'pain', but for the past 3 or 4 months, I have had maybe one or 2 days of something that was a bit ouchy; nothing to write home about.  I suspect this might rear its head again once I start hill training again in a couple of weeks (if I am cleared to do so due to ITBS)

My first injury was my knee.  My patella to be exact.  It kept me from running the 2008 (full) Houston Marathon as I lost too much valuable training time, therefore I had to drop to the half.  With a lot of elliptical , patella band (which I still wear often) and running on treadmill and softer surfaces I was fine in plenty of time for the race.

Then I ran NYC in late 2008, Houston in early 2009 and then I was also working at the store 8+ hours on my feet 5 days a week (during my out of work period)...and I kept right on training after Houston, which resulted in a stress fracture, left side, tibia.  I remember in April, I ran a 5K race in the morning (grabbing 2nd in my AG) in complete and utter pain, and then at 3pm that afternoon I ran another race which was a 4 person relay with each person doing a 2 mile loop.  I finished in 18 min and then basically collapsed.  I didnt run again for a couple of months.  I was done and done.

I recovered by aqua jogging, biking and swimming and in that Summer was my first sprint triathlon so something good did come out of it.  And by the time KW started up in the Fall, I was ready to train for Houston 2010.  Alls well that ends well.

I rocked and rolled all during 2011, focusing on training and running Chicago, Dallas and then Houston.  It was probably inevitable that I was going to sustain some sort of injury, but damn I almost made it!  Who would have thought that 3 short days before the last marathon, the injury would manifest, even if ever so slightly?

So.  What's been your worst injury?  When?  And how well did you recover?

Coming Soon:  How to Avoid Common Running Injuries


Melissa said...

:-( I hope you are fully recovered soon.

Not sure what I did to my legs in Houston, but they are TRASHED. I have a giant knot in my left calf, which I know is my posterior tib. I've been working on it all week, next week i'll have it looked at

Karen said...

Hey ma'am! SO sorry to hear about your injury! I had an injury pop up just two weeks before Houston and had to drop to the Half. I was diagnosed with Tendonitis in my left knee. Poo. I'm like you - I figured out what was wrong and started seeing someone that could help me right away! I have too many races to run to stay injured! LOL Here's to a quick recovery!!! :0)

I Pull 400 Watts said...

I have had ITBS twice. Once from doing the majority of my miles on the same side of a road outside of town from the slope of the road. And once from doing a bunch of laps on a short indoor track.

My shoes have made a difference too. After I came down with ITBS from the road, I was without my Vibrams for a few weeks and had to run in racing flats, ITBS came back with a vengence. Once I got the vibrams back, first run, BOOM, no ITBS.

Some things that may work:

I have seen research showing ITBS injury was directed correlated with lack of glute strength.

Also after I was getting over the ITBS it still would pop up once in a while. I generally incorporate my warm up into the first mile or two of my run. Once in a while if I would feel the ITBS pain pop up during these first couple miles, I would do this stretch: https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-ir7gibquDWOirqQ41OLFnitPbX9vh1guVaVZeH6rL5g1blcL but standing up on the treadmill, and instantly the pain would go away and be gone for the rest of the run, be it 5 miles or 15 miles.

Good luck!

TX Runner Mom said...

I'm sorry you're having ITB issues! I've been lucky that I haven't had too many injuries since I began running. I had some ITB issues, achilles tendonitis, and some pretty bad shin splints...but, a little rest, ice and stretching and everything was a-okay after only a few days.Other than that, I've only had a few aches and pains...until now. This hip issue has been my 1st major injury. I probably should have stopped running sooner, but thought it was just one of those quirky aches. Once I realized it wasn't, I stopped. However, I did try to cross train, which probably wasn't the smartest idea. I think part of the hip issue had to do with me trying to change up my stride. Regardless, injuries are nothing to mess with! I couldn't run Houston and may not be doing the 70.3. I will tell you this, I am a firm believer in stretching now!