Dr. Nikhil Latey is a Mumbai-based physiotherapist, and Head of Sports Science at Olympic Gold Quest. A physiotherapy graduate from Mumbai, he earned a Masters Degree in Sports and Exercise Science from Roehampton University, London. Dr. Latey works with India’s top sportsmen and women including Mary Kom.
Running in the last 10 years has dramatically picked up as a sport for recreation and this has led to an increase in the number of running related injuries. Some of the most common issues I have encountered are –
- Muscular issues- Most of the problems that runners usually face are because of inadequate muscle conditioning. Back pain, thigh and hamstring pain, calf pain – all are a result of weak or overworked muscles. There are a few things you can do to ensure your muscles are in good shape. Make sure your diet is balanced; you get enough sun exposure, stretch well, drink enough fluids, and take electrolytes on runs lasting longer than 45 minutes or on hot days. You will also need to do regular conditioning exercises (3-4 times a week) for glutes, hams, quads, calves, core, back and abs and shoulder retractors.
- Plantar Fasciitis- Typically a person suffering from plantar fasciitis will have pain at the base of the foot. The pain will be felt most strongly in the morning when the person wakes up and during runs. It is not advisable to run through this pain. The treatment is a little prolonged and involves strengthening of calf and intrinsic muscles of the foot. Self-massage of the base of the foot, icing and contrast bath. Corrective footwear may be required but in most cases the cause of the injury is due to increasing mileage too quickly or not paying attention to conditioning.
- IT band pain- The primary cause of IT band pain is weak gluteal muscles, mainly the side glutes which causes the impact stress to be borne by the ITB leading to injury. Strengthening of side glutes, self-massage, heat therapy, and gait correction helps take care of this issue.
- Knee pain- Also known as runner’s knee. The usual causes are suddenly increasing the load of running by increasing volume or speed, weak glutes and quads and improper running technique. You should take a step back, allow the injury to settle and then increase training load gradually.
There are a few basic things that need to be done to enjoy injury-free running-
- Get your blood levels checked for vitamin deficiencies
- Follow a good running technique
- Don’t forget proper warm up and cool down, hydration
- Conditioning is crucial
- Listen to your body!
Image courtesies: orthoinfo.aas.org & ovoptimalhealth.com