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. This means there's always the chance of injuring yourself because your legs constantly slam against the hard ground.
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 must respect their bodies and 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 to 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 most affected runners. 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, 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, bruising, and severe pain when walking. Before doing something as strenuous as running, warm up properly before raising your heart rate and stretching 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 as swelling and bruising, 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 a fracture, treatment must be administered to ensure 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, you can start improving your lower leg pain. Here are our best tips to run pain-free.
SACKSY THYME Hot Therapy Relief Microwavable Heating pad for lower leg pain
Proper footwear is vital for reducing the runner's knee and shin splints. It may be best if you are fitted at a specialty running store; however, these stores can only be located if you live in a bigger city.
Remember to cool down after each run properly, and be sure to stretch your calf muscles to avoid injuring 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.
SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack for Lower Leg Pain Pain:
SACKSY THYME Cold Therapy Pack is perfect for those who are looking for a natural solution to their pain. The pack is designed to fit comfortably around your lower leg, providing full coverage of the affected area. The cold therapy helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, which in turn can help to alleviate pain. The Cold Pack can be used for a variety of lower leg pain conditions, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and muscle strains.
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 start with strengthening without prior knowledge.
Cross-training with other workouts, such as swimming or biking, is meant to reduce the amount you run weekly to prevent overuse injuries. Swimming and biking are good exercises because they work for different muscle groups, reducing the chance of overuse 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!
Here are some additional tips on how to stop lower leg pain when running:
- Increase your mileage gradually. Try to increase your mileage slowly, as this can increase your risk of injury. Begin by running short distances a few times a week, then gradually increase the length and frequency of your runs.
- Run on soft surfaces. Running on hard surfaces, such as concrete, can put more stress on your lower legs. Running on softer surfaces like grass or trails is recommended for a smoother experience.
- Stretch after your run. Stretching after your run can help to reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility. Stretch your calves, shins, and hamstrings.
- Take rest days. Don't run every day. Give your body time to rest and recover.
- Listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop running and rest. Don't push through the pain, as this could worsen the injury.
- Avoid running on hills. Hills can put more stress on your lower legs.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can contribute to muscle cramps, leading to lower leg pain. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your run.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will help to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover from running and prevent injuries.
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, ensuring you consult your doctor before beginning treatment is so important.