Spring is upon us and in conjunction with those inevitable April showers comes the time of year when runners, both novice and experts, decide to hit the pavement. Running provides a myriad of health benefits to those who decide to engage in the activity. One of the main benefits is the reduction of weight. Even after the run is complete the calories continue to burn. Scientists refer to this “after burn” as EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). Additional advantages include the release of endorphins which improves mood and sharpens focus. Jogging also strengthens not only your heart but can help strengthen knee joints by increasing bone mass. Do not feel that you have to run 30 minutes a day and 5 days a week. Research shows that running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day can provide health benefits as opposed to doing absolutely no exercise at all. We are devoting this blog post to those who enjoy both the stress relief and health benefits obtained from running. But what are some of the disadvantages to this exercise and how can running related injuries be prevented? Well read on to address some of the most common issues and various treatment options for runners.
What is Achilles tendonitis? The Achilles tendon is a fibrous band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. The suffix “itis” means inflammation in medical terminology; therefore, Achilles tendonitis is simply inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Symptoms of an Achilles injury typically begin gradually. There may be a dull ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or even just walking. The pain may increase in severity upon climbing stairs or with prolonged running. In addition, a rapid increase in the amount and intensity of your activity can lead to a tendon injury. Also, remember that failing to properly stretch the calf muscles can place tremendous pressure on the Achilles tendon resulting in an injury. Inappropriate and unsupportive shoe wear can strain and add burden the Achilles tendon over time.
Conservative treatment of Achilles tendonitis includes simply resting, icing and gentle stretches to help relieve immediate symptoms. Orthotics like shoe inserts provides a lift to the heel in combination with making certain you have appropriate shoes for running can aide in advoiding injuries. Finally, always listen to your body and do not push yourself to the point of injury. Tendons can also rupture or tear. In these instances of a more severe injury, prolonged casting and/or surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.