If you’re training for a race, whether it be a 5K or a marathon, here’s what you need to know about injury prevention and treatment.
Pre-Race Orthopaedic Appointments
Before the race, you want to make sure your body is in top condition. That means getting enough sleep, hydrating, avoiding intense or risky gym workouts, starting to alter your diet, and treating any problems or injuries you have.
Recovery is an important part of training for a marathon, so be sure to stretch lightly before and after runs, and take a day off to let your body heal after long runs. If you have an injury from the past, a brace or tape can help prevent re-injuring yourself.
Treating Injuries Before the Race
If you do sustain an injury while training, it’s important to allow these injuries to heal so that you don’t cause further damage. If you’re suffering from foot or ankle pain, start with at home treatment using the RICE method- rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
If swelling or pain continues, schedule an appointment quickly to get treated well before race day.
Common Race Injuries
Even the most experienced and prepared runners can injure themselves during the race. If you experience pain, swelling, or stiffness, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Fuchs in Seattle. Here are the most common race injuries we see, and what symptoms to look out for:
Knee injuries are among the most common in runners. Patellofemoral pain is inflammation at the anterior or front part of the knee that results from the way that the knee cap tracks on the femoral groove. It is thought to be caused by a muscle imbalance mainly of the quadriceps muscle.
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that are common in the tibia (shin bone) and metatarsals (bones in the feet). It is caused by too much repetitive stress on the bone. You may notice pain that is similar to shin splints, but more noticeable and focused on a smaller area of the bone. In order to heal completely, you’ll need to stop running for four to six weeks, and you may need additional treatment.
Bursitis can occur in the elbow, hip, knee, or shoulder, and results in inflammation in fluid-filled pads near the joints. It’s a common injury of the knee for runners and can be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Further treatment may be needed including draining the fluid, steroid injections, or physical therapy.