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Athletes endure almost anything all for the love of the sport. Even when there’s a bitter cold bite in the air looming now that fall is unfolding, runners overcome hardships wherever they go. Weather conditions can be tempered with the right protective gear like headband ponytail or windbreakers. But when it comes to injuries, protection is hard to come by.
Because legwork is business-as-usual for competing runners, the leg is often susceptible to injuries. Muscles, bones, ligaments, and other soft tissues covering these areas have the tendency to become overstretched, pulled, or worse, torn.
Sudden jumps or movements can cause injuries when proper stretching and warming up are not followed. A good test to find out if you’ve injured your leg is by walking a few meters barefoot.
Try to feel your way through every step and find out if there’s any out-of-the-ordinary tenderness or pain. Bring your legs together or raise your knees a couple of times and see if you can narrow down where the discomfort is coming from.
Injuries, at its beginning stages, should still let you move the affected area but with a bit of soreness or stiffness. If you notice spasms and some swelling and bruising, then you may have something more serious.
When you start seeing these signs, you need to get to a doctor and confirm the type of injury you might have. For starters, it would also help if you are familiar with common sports injuries that most athletes experience. Here are common injuries that every runner should watch out for:
Speeding up and slowing down, then doing an abrupt stop are movements that are hard to avoid when you’re an athlete. The feet get the bulk of pressure in most sports. Even when you’re not into contact sports, you’re still in danger of injury. And the usual pain bearers for are the heels.
The Achilles tendon, the springy group of tissues at the back of your ankle, absorbs the impact from sudden movements or stops. It’s the same band that allows you to rotate your toes. The intensity can be too much for the tendons if done repeatedly and with loads of pressure.
A muffled popping sound happens when you tear your Achilles tendon. The swelling comes next, which will limit the range of motion you can do with your feet.
You’ll start having putting pressure on your toes and feeling pain right above your heel. The more severe the injury is, the stiffer your heels are going to be when you try walking on them.
The good news is that an injury to the Achilles tendon tends to heal on its own. Resting, icing, compressing, and taping system on the affected area should help with the process.
Most doctors would recommend inserting a heel lift on your footwear while your tendons are recovering. Preventive measures are encouraged, and following proper stretching exercise before engaging in any kind of physical activity should be a habit.
Athletes engage in strenuous activities with the use of their legs all the time, which makes them susceptible to shin splints. Shin splints arise in the form of a dull ache on your lower leg, numbness in the feet, and pain on both sides of the shin bone.
It results from too much pounding on the shin bones and the muscles surrounding them. When the muscles are swollen, they put pressure on the bone, which leads to inflammation.
Doctors usually recommend at least two weeks for rest and recovery. To speed up the recovery process, you can apply ice packs or put muscle tapes on your lower leg. Keep your legs elevated as much as possible.
You also need to be wearing shock-absorbing shoes and avoid training on slightly slanted terrains. Most importantly, always warm up your legs with effective stretches and increase the intensity gradually until you fully recover.
Accidentally landing on one side of the foot, and putting all your weight on it can cause a hamstring strain. You’ll know you’ve pulled the muscles too far when you feel sharp pain immediately at the back of your leg.
At times the pain comes with a popping sensation, depending on the severity. In most cases, you won’t be able to continue running or the activity you were in the middle of doing.
When the leg is stretched out before your foot hits the ground, the hamstring band is pulled way too far. If it’s a mild strain, you’ll feel pain when you try to stand on your leg, and there will be a little swelling.
If it gets severe, you won’t be able to walk because of the pain or straighten your leg. You’ll need to be taken to a medical facility right away to prevent further tearing of muscles in your leg.
Best not to try getting back on the field and resume playing if you’ve strained your hamstring. For immediate relief, use an ice pack. Compressing your leg with a muscle tape works in reducing the swelling. You should give your injured leg enough time to rest to avoid further damage or pain.