This Month's Topic
We are extremely fortunate to have a guest writer this month, Kelly Sheerin, talking about how to manage and avoid running injuries. Kelly is the Manager of the Running + Cycling Clinic based at AUT Millennium and describes himself as a physio, researcher, educator and runner rolled into one big ball. He has vast experience working with elite athletes and those of us less elite.
If you have any niggles presenting from you training I strongly recommend you get in to see him at his clinic at The Millennium, you’ll learn so much about your running style and how to tweak it, plus it’s lots of fun running on the awesome gear they have up there!
The Vital Bits
Managing Running Injuries - Kelly Sheeran
It’s about this time of year that runners start eyeing up, and signing up, for spring running events. And why not? What could be better than getting out into our wonderful environment and completing a physical challenge shoulder to shoulder with some good friends. That’s not even to mention the health benefits that can come along with running training.
However, there is dark side to running. Regular contact with tarmac and hard surfaces can cause knee pain, tender foot or annoying Achilles. Injuries are the most common reason why runners don’t make it to the finish line of their chosen event. In fact, injuries are often the reason why many runners don’t even make it to the start line.
Injuries are of course nothing new, but with appropriate planning and intervention they need not play a part in your running at all. A little bit homework, along with a few other strategies, can really make the difference between not only toeing the start line, but blasting through the finish.
One of the common complaints that we see at The Clinic is runners with pain along the inside border of the shins. Downplayed for many years as ‘shin splints’, with runners often advised to ‘run through it’, this condition, more specifically termed ‘medial tibial stress syndrome’, can, if left unchecked, quickly turn into something much more nasty. There is the potential for runners to progress from mild muscle pain right through to fractures of the tibia bone itself.
To most runners, this condition can be just as confusing to deal with as the name suggests. It can result from incorrect or worn running shoes, poor calf function, tight hamstrings, weak glutes and hip flexor muscles, incorrect running technique, or a combination of all of the above.
It’s important to have a complete, whole-body check to ensure that you’re not wasting your time with the wrong strategy. Many runners find that rest and time away from running are not often a solution to the problem. As soon as you restart your training, the pain re-appears.
The importance of running technique cannot be overstated. Often when we begin running, we pay no attention to how we’re actually doing it. Running with poor form is not only inefficient, it also places undue stress on different muscles, bones and joints that are not designed to take it.
It is essential that when you’re out there running that you spend some portion of the time working on your technique. Correct running form is not something that you can learn by reading a book or the internet; it will likely take the assistance of someone with a bit of knowledge and a keen eye.
The best advice for those eyeing up an event later in the year, or who would like to finally rid themselves of repetitive injuries, is to start training now. It doesn’t start with hitting the pavement; it starts with sorting your technique, strength, and all the other little pieces that make up the running puzzle.
If you would like to know more about the services on offer at the Running + Cycling Clinic at AUT Millennium, follow this link: http://www.autmillennium.org.nz/theclinic/running/
Managing Shin Pain
¾ fill a polystyrene cup with water and freeze. Peel the cup back, starting at the top, until the ice is exposed and massage your shin for about 10mins per shin, up to four times a day.
Peel more of the cup away as the ice melts.
Mandy Crawford, Doctor of Osteopathy