You made it! Congratulations to those of you who participated in the HBF Run For A Reason late last month. Having got through the walk or run, many of us feel so proud of ourselves that we neglect the importance of the period after the race called recovery. Now, recovery might look like a glass of wine and a radox bath (both have their place), but in actual fact, professional runners will tell you the time that follows after a race is much more important that what happens during the race. So read on and we’ll give you some tips on recovery and how to prevent injuries in the future. Also, we’ll chat about the most common running injuries and how we can help you at Junction Foot and Ankle Group.
Hitting the pavement for an event often means increased mileage and repetitive action of our bodies. The arch of the foot and the heel are two hard hit areas, and this can take the form of plantar fasciitis (pain underneath the heel or arch), and Achilles tendonitis (pain at the back of the heel bone). These conditions are often triggered by increased exercise and it’s important to get on top of them before they become really bad. Our team at Junction Foot and Ankle Group can guide you in treatment and instruct you on appropriate exercises, physical therapies and determine if you need extra support in your footwear. Remember to bring in your shoes when you make an appointment!
Other common injuries include calf strain or tear, runner’s knee (known as patellofemoral syndrome), iliotibial band syndrome (pain and tightness around the outside of the knee or higher up on the side of the leg), shin splints, and stress fractures. If you were unlucky enough to land on an uneven area of terrain, you may have had an ankle sprain, and that can lead to ankle instability if not dealt with properly. Treating these injuries early is the key. Your running style and choice of footwear plays an important part in these injuries. Our podiatrists can video your running style and provide advice specific for you.
Probably the most annoying injuries from running are blisters and chafing. These relatively minor problems can cause such a lot of grief and knowing how to prevent them can be the difference between a comfortable ride and a very painful experience. Running creates friction and that’s why these two problems arise. It can take the form of blisters on the toes, under the arch, or any part of the foot and ankle wear there is persistent irritation. Little things such as making sure you have the correct shoes, correct fit and correct socks are important. We can assess all of these and ensure your feet are not slipping around too much inside your shoes. We also sell a wonderful wool product which can be used around the toes for prevention. Make sure your running clothing is free from prominent seams and is the correct fit to avoid chafing, and if you are prone to this problem, there are a number of anti-chaffing creams you can buy.
And remember to look after yourself after finishing a long run, keep your body warm with a blanket if available. Change out of damp clothes into clean, dry ones to stop you losing body heat. Refuel with sports drinks, high carbohydrate foods, salty snacks and a good dose of potassium (think bananas) to restore energy and food to your muscles. If you happen to vomit (nausea is common), try to at least keep fluids down by sipping small amounts frequently. And while it’s tempting to lay down on the ground and rest, it’s so important to keep moving, aim for a slow walk for 15 minutes after the end of the race. In the days that follow don’t be a couch potato, do some low impact activities to stop your muscles from seizing up. Instead of dosing up on the anti-inflammatories, try applying ice packs to painful areas, or if you’re brave sit in an ice bath!
Lap it up – you deserve it! Massage after the race and in the days that follow are a necessary (and sometimes painful) indulgence. Get plenty of sleep both before and after the run and give your body time to recover.
If you have a running injury or other sports injury, or just want some advice on prevention, we can help you out! Book in for a consultation and be sure to bring in your sports footwear for assessment.