Whether you’ve taken up running recently, or have been lacing up your shoes for years, certain aches and pains can plague runners and take all the fun out of the sport. If you’re concerned and keen to avoid the most common injuries, read this advice on how to take care of your running legs for years to come.
True shin splints are agonising and can make running almost impossible, but before the full-blown version develops you may feel sharp pain running down either side of your shin. Shin splints occur when the tissue becomes inflamed, and they need to be taken seriously – left untreated, they can result in stress fractures in the shin (as nasty as they sound). If you are suffering from aches and pains in your shins, listen to your body and take some rest. A week off running (or any other high impact activity) will let you monitor the pain during rest periods. Ease back in gradually, and at the onset of any pain, stop again. You may need to seek physio, or consider taking up a low-impact sport such as swimming to maintain fitness while you wait for the shin splints to heal.
The plantar fascia is an integral part of your foot structure, as it connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that arises when this part of the foot gets inflamed. It can be addressed at home with ice, compression and rest, but you may want to get help from a physio who can recommend exercises and help you find some shoes to support and comfort the sole of your foot. To avoid plantar fasciitis, make sure you have good running shoes that fit you and support the sole of your foot in the first place. Avoid running too fast to start with, ease yourself into each run to allow your feet to warm up.