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Running Related Injury (RRI)

All runners can be susceptible to injury, but the bad news is that runners with less than three years experience are more than twice as likely to experience injury. This article explains the main reason for running related injury (RRI) and whilst it will be relevant to all runners, it may be particularly useful to those new to running or those about to increase their training regime.

runners in race
Runners in road race

Why do runners get injured?

Studies suggest the proportion of runners that get injured each year could be as high as 79%....and despite advances in advice, technology and information, this alarming statistic has not reduced in over 4 decades.

Runners often think injury is due to not warming up properly, insufficient post run stretching or wearing the wrong shoes, but the research literature does not support these as the main reasons for injury.

Whilst RRI is complex & often caused by a combination of things, studies tell us that up to 80% of RRI is due to inappropriate training volumes, leading to overuse injuries.

What is an overuse injury?

An overuse injury typically occurs when we repeatedly load our joints, bones and soft tissues with a repetitive movement and these loads exceed our body’s capacity to manage them.

When we train we cause microscopic damage to the soft tissues, known as micro trauma. This is a perfectly normal process and is what causes our muscles to get stronger and bigger as they repair. However, if we continue to repeat the repetitive movements and the rate of repair does not keep pace with on-going damage, the surrounding healthy tissues have to work harder to compensate for the deficiency. In turn these healthy tissues also become overused and so the damage spreads. The injury site becomes bigger and if not already evident, eventually manifests in symptoms of inflammation, pain and physical dysfunction.

How do I prevent an overuse injury?

The golden rules for avoiding overuse injury are to:

  1. give your body time to adapt

  2. give your body time to recover.

To learn more about how you can safely adapt and adequately recover, check out our blog on ‘How to avoid overuse injuries'. Also consider incorporating soft tissue treatment into your training regime. It is a great way of helping to reduce risk of injury & helps to maintain the health of the soft tissue.

At Optimal Performance, whether you are injured or wanting to prevent injury, an assessment will look at your training, recovery, range of movement and any muscular imbalances.

Bespoke treatment includes massage therapy which offers the ability to monitor the condition of the tissues & the effects of training. By identifying & targeting areas of tissue damage it can help repair damaged tissues before they develop into injury. Mobilisation, massage & stretching all promote tissue healing and aid the remodelling phase of the damaged tissue, ensuring it does not become restricted, bound, tight or adhered to other structures. It can also help to reduce discomfort, tightness and improve flexibility & mobility.

We can also provide advice on warming up, cooling down, stretching, strength training & understanding pain, as well as prescribing prehab exercise plans to help you build strength & address any ‘niggles’, muscular imbalances & areas of weakness.

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