Top Running Injuries: Treating Ankles and Knees with Ice Wraps
It’s widely established that running is one of the most injury-prone sports humans can endure. Large amounts of stress are put on certain parts of a runner’s body when they’re active, mainly around the knees and ankles. Couple that with the studies that show 65% of all runners will be injured at some point during any given year, and it’s easy to see why recovery and injury prevention are necessary for those who run.
Most common running injuries are a consequence of overuse or improper training. In fact, about half of all running injuries are often reoccurring, with the same four culprits often being to blame. We took a look at the most common ailments that plague both experienced and amateur runners, and what you should do to prevent yourself from falling victim to one of these painful problems.
1. Runner’s Knee
Also known as “patellofemoral pain syndrome,” runner’s knee is an irritation that occurs between the kneecap and thigh bone, caused by too much stress being put on the knee. Improperly conditioned quads or hamstrings can often lead to runner’s knee, and women are especially susceptible to the injury.
The pain felt from runner’s knee occurs directly on or behind the kneecap, and can form as a sharp, shooting pain or a dull and aching pain. The pain typically subsides when a runner is active, only to return later.
The best treatment for runner’s knee is patience and preventative care. A Dr. Cool 4” ice wrap can help soothe the irritation felt from the injury, but can also be useful in preventing future flare-ups. It’s also important to know your limits if you experience runner’s knee—try running on softer surfaces for shorter amounts of time, making sure not to increase your running time or intensity by more than 10%. Stretching and strengthening are also key in preventing injuries like this one.
2. Achilles Tendinitis
Tendinitis is a word that runners never like to hear. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse. Add that with the fact that the Achilles tendon typically sees little blood flow, and you have a nagging injury that can cause unwanted pain for a considerable amount of time. Tight calf muscles are the most common causes of Achilles tendinitis, and improper stretching of lower leg muscles can make those problems worse.
Like all common running injuries, the best thing you can do to limit the effects of Achilles tendinitis is to stop yourself from doing too much all at once. Overtraining can cause the injury to become painful and limit your ability to stay active. Additionally, since Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation, cold compression and elevation can help your recovery efforts.
3. Plantar Fasciitis
A closely related injury to Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis is also an inflammation that occurs around the foot. This injury occurs at the bottom of the heel, and can manifest as a sharp, stabbing pain. Poorly-conditioned foot muscles and calves can often be the culprit when it comes to plantar fasciitis, but things can become especially worse with inadequate footwear. Runners who use old running shoes could find themselves susceptible to the injury if they don’t immediately get a fresh equipment.
Strengthening and conditioning is the best way to counter act plantar fasciitis. Taking pressure off the plantar fascia by improving foot and calf strength will help prevent future inflammations. For quick relief, rolling your feet on a golf ball or resting a bit with a Dr. Cool 3” ice wraps are good solutions!
4. IT Band Syndrome
The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a strip of fibers that connects the lateral glute muscles to the shin bone, running along the outside of the knee. With the repetitive bending of the knees during running, it can be very easy for the IT band to experience a lot of strain and become inflamed. This often results in soreness or sharp pains felt on the outside of the knee.
The trick in preventing IT band syndrome is to eliminate tightness and conduct a proper amount of strengthening. When inflamed, it can be difficult to run due to the pain—because of this, runners should try cross-training if their symptoms flare-up. Use ice compression wraps to minimize swelling and recover faster.
Preventing these common running injuries takes a lot of preparation, patience, and proper care. While Dr. Cool ankle and knee ice wraps are perfect for recovering from strains and sprains suffered by runners, they can also be used as a preventative measure. Simply freeze the wraps and apply them to your knees, ankles, or feet to provide ice and compression! Make a habit out of this after every workout, and your chances of avoiding one of these nagging injuries will be significantly reduced!