Overuse Running Injuries

Getting too much of a good thing

If you are prone to overuse running injuries, you are not alone.  Here is why they occur and what you can do.

The Statistics

Up to 70% of recreational runners get injured in a 12 month period from over use injuries. [1]   And if you are an elite runner a recent Harvard study showed that you have a 74% risk [2] .  So although running has amazing health benefits, it can also lead to injuries, some of which may become chronic if not managed properly.  At the end of the day it all comes down to pacing and listening to your body.   


Overuse injuries  (also known as  cumulative trauma disorders or  repetitive strain injury) are the outcome of repetitive stress and micro trauma to the body’s structures such as bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can also occur to nerve tissues, soft tissue compartments and bursa. The stresses the body absorbs include vibration, compression, tension, impingement, shear and contraction. Overuse injuries gradually develop over time and is the most common sports injury. 


Examples of overuse injuries are  :

Stress fractures, 

Shin splints, 

Runner’s knee, 

Achilles tendinitis

Plantar Fasciitis.


When do overuse running injuries occur?

We all know that to get a training adaption we need to stress our body to a higher level than before.  Typical overuse injuries occur when we are going too hard or too fast. These injuries occur when the body cannot adapt to the excessive overload it receives.  A key time of concern is when we are peaking for an event. 


How do overuse running injuries  occur?

Our body needs to heal and remodel the damages incurred from stresses it gets in running. Injuries happen when there’s too much break down happening than remodeling or simply, a quick increase in intensity, duration and frequency of physical activity. The other causes of overuse injuries are training and technique errors, muscle imbalance, not enough flexibility,  and incorrect footwear and equipment. 


Treatment for the injuries

Go to a physiotherapist and get a proper diagnosis. Treating overuse injuries can be challenging but when the root cause has been determined, you’ll achieve your end goal. Generally, the treatments for overuse injuries depend on the diagnosis and usually include rest- avoiding the activity or activities that caused pain or reducing the intensity and frequency of the work out, anti-inflammatory medications, ice- to reduce swelling and inflammation and, physiotherapy.

What Can you do?

The number one preventative action you can take is to listen to your body.   Your body is telling you that something needs to recover. But you don't want to lose your condition while waiting for your body to recover.  Check with your medical advisor, but in most cases you will find you can do some cross training exercise as long as it doesn't aggrevate your injury.  This is where the Bionic Runner comes into it's own.  It is uniquely suited to provide runners with a running equivalent workout, but without the impact.  In fact guys like Ultra marathoner Mick Thwaites train on it and have gone on to run 413km in 48 hours 4 months after surgery.  So don't lose your condition,  

Train on your terms

Get a Bionic Runner today!