Running is one of the most joyful activities you can perform. It is a great way to stay active, lose weight, and improve your mood. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this 2015 meta-analysis that analyzed the effects of running on human health and metabolism.
We, as a species, are the best runners in the entire animal kingdom because of our ability to sweat. However, what makes us special also predisposes us to common musculoskeletal injuries.
In this article, we will discuss the most common injuries encountered during running and how heat and cold therapies may help.
Common running injuries
Depending on your anatomical structure, strengths, and weaknesses, the risk of one of the following injuries will vary.
This is the most common injury seen in runners.
Runner’s knee may affect one or two knees, depending on the intensity of the jogging you’re doing. It is caused by the irritation and stretching of the tendons found inside your knee joint and may take six weeks to fully recover.
Achilles tendonitis, and as the name implies, is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is the result of repetitive stress of the tendon and will cause severe pain around the ankle area, preventing you from getting any exercise.
Hamstring strains are a common injury seen in all sports. However, it is seen more in runners. Unfortunately, this injury may take a long time to heal, and the recurrence rate is quite high.
This injury involves an active irritation and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments found in the foot. It accounts for 15 percent of all running injuries.
The classical presentation is achy pain whenever you place your foot on the ground.
Unlike regular fractures, which happen acutely, a stress fracture may take months of continuous pressure to occur.
Sadly, this is the most dangerous/preventable running injury on our list.
How do thermotherapy and cryotherapy help?
In our previous article (insert link), we discussed the efficacy of thermotherapy (heat therapy) and cryotherapy (cold therapy) in treating musculoskeletal injuries.
Each therapy exerts its pain-reducing properties through a different mechanism, which is also detailed in the article.
Nevertheless, applying heat or cold shortly after an injury and during the post-injury phase could significantly reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
Most notably, thermotherapy and cryotherapy are effective in reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Running injuries are common among athletes and regular people. Dealing with a similar injury could be a hassle because of the prolonged recovery period and difficult management.
Additionally, these injuries tend to reoccur after the first time, and in some cases, it may be the cause that ends an athlete’s career at an early age!
The scientific community is encouraging healthcare facilities and people to start applying heat or cold therapies after an injury to reduce symptoms, recovery time, and complications.
If you have ever tried any of the two therapies, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.
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