Running is a wonderful exercise that can help you reduce belly fat and increase your stamina and endurance. But it's important to remember that running is a high-impact sport. And this means there's always the chance of injuring yourself because your legs will be slamming against the hard ground constantly. As well as this, you may also suffer from lower leg pain if you don't wear the correct footwear or aren't supporting your ankle properly so that it doesn't move too much to either side. You could even find yourself suffering from muscle strain, making the discomfort last longer! To prevent such injuries from happening, keep reading to learn more about how lower leg pain develops and how you can prevent it:
Running's Most Common Causes
The most common running injuries stem from overuse. Runners make the mistake of not respecting their bodies and will often try to increase miles run or intensity too quickly without preparing the body first, causing stress fractures in the lower leg area. A runner must find a good baseline pace that can be sustained for various intervals throughout the mileage during a workout. Below we'll cover ways you can start respecting your body and prevent certain injuries, including shin splints where you feel pain concentrated on either side of your lower leg because of overuse.
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot injury, especially among runners most commonly affected. The plantar fascia is the ligament found under your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. With plantar fasciitis, the ligament becomes inflamed and irritated because of sudden changes in running patterns or footwear or improper stretching and strengthening of calf muscles. This syndrome is aggravated upon arising from a seated position due to the tightness of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. The pain is usually felt in the heel or midfoot and can be extremely annoying as it prevents one from being physically active. Most people at risk for this condition are those who increase their distances too quickly or run more often than usual, which increases their stress on the feet; however, other risk factors include flat feet, increasing age, lack of proper postural alignment (overpronation), tight calf muscles and high body weight.
A strain in your calf may be caused by overuse or an abrupt movement. In some cases, you might have caught a muscle tendon that was out of place or rubbed against another bone. When the injury is mild, you will have pain and swelling in the top part of your leg. Anyone with a severe injury may also experience redness or bruising and severe pain when walking. Before doing something as strenuous as running, warm up properly before raising your heart rate and stretch regularly.
Stress fractures in the lower leg are hairline cracks that appear on bones due to the repetitive stress of your ankle hitting the ground. It could be a stress fracture if you're experiencing pain that increases over time but doesn't disappear with rest. This condition usually presents itself as swelling and bruising, which is very similar to a sprain or break. When you visit your doctor for this ailment, you will likely be ordered an x-ray to evaluate your ankle. If it is indeed a fracture, then treatment needs to be administered to ensure that you don't suffer any permanent damage. Recovery can take anywhere between six to eight weeks or longer, depending on whether one decides to have surgery.
Shin splints are a running-related injury that happens when you try picking up the intensity of your running too quickly and by running on hard surfaces. As a result, you'll feel pain and tenderness in your shins. It's important to remember that shin splints are not permanent, and the symptoms should improve significantly with rest and rehabilitation. For runners to heal properly, it's recommended that they adjust their training regime by reducing the frequency and intensity of their workouts until the symptoms subside.
The Achilles tendon runs from your heel to the back of your lower leg. Also called tendinopathy or tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition that affects runners and active people who run or walk a lot. It can happen when you do too much or increase your activity level too quickly. The pain is worsened by activities that load the Achilles tendon, such as running, jumping, turning, and walking upstairs.
How to Improve Lower Leg Pain when Running
Once you have a firm diagnosis and treatment plan, then you can start working on improving your lower leg pain. Here are our best tips to run pain-free.
The best way to avoid injury is to warm your muscles with a Sacksythyme's Hot therapy relief heating pad. Running in cold weather has been linked to muscle injuries.
Proper footwear is vital for reducing the runner's knee and shin splints. If possible, it may be best if you are fitted at a specialty running store; however, these stores can be difficult to locate unless you live in a bigger city.
Don't forget to properly cool down after each run, and be sure to stretch your calf muscles so as not to injure yourself.
Icing Sore Muscles
A Cold therapy pack over your sore muscles will not only feel great and look professional, but it'll reduce swelling and pain—cold therapy for 20 minutes after your run or whenever you feel soreness.
Strengthen Calf Muscles
Strengthening your muscles will help prevent injuries and strengthen your joints and can even be used as a form of physical therapy. It's also important to see a doctor or go for physical therapy beforehand as it can sometimes aggravate existing conditions/injuries, especially if you're starting with strengthening without any prior knowledge.
Cross-training with other workouts such as swimming or biking is meant to reduce the amount you run per week to prevent overuse injuries. Swimming and biking are good exercises because they work for different muscle groups, reducing the chance of overuse both in your legs and lower back.
The medication will help to alleviate your lower leg pain. It won't relieve it immediately, but you could return to running once you are used to the medication's effects and side effects!
Running is a high-impact sport, causing a lot of wear and tear. Finding the root cause is important to deciding on the best treatment plan. Once you know what you're working with, it'll help prevent running injuries from happening again. As always, ensure you consult your doctor before beginning treatment is so important.