Running on a regular basis has many benefits, including weight loss, stress relief and maintaining a strong and healthy body.
On the other hand done wrong, running can cause short term and long term disabilities, weight gain, blisters, corns, calluses, Athlete’s Foot, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. and joint aches due to pulled muscles & ligaments, dislocation of knee cap ( Patella ), stress fractures, osteoarthritis,calcification of muscles etc.
First lets find out the muscles involved in running. The list below is just the list of most active muscles while running besides most of the major organs of the body are also functioning at their best ability.
Muscles Used While Running
- Hip Extensors
- Hip Flexors
- Thigh Extensors
- Thigh Flexors
- Leg Extensors
- Leg Flexors
- Plantar Flexors
As you move your leg forward, you use mainly the quadricep muscles (Hip Flexors and Knee Extensors) at the front of your thigh. They bend your hip and straighten your knee. The quads also stabilize the knee and help absorb the shock of impact as you land.
As your body moves forward, the action switches to your hamstrings (Hip Extensors and Knee Flexors), the muscles at the back of your thigh, which straighten your hip and begin to bend your knee. The hamstrings also work to help you lift your knee behind you.
At the same time, the muscles of your lower leg, the soleus (inner calf) and gastrocnemius (outer calf) extend and flex each foot as you land and push off. These muscles also help absorb impact and give your stride spring.
In addition to these primary running muscles, several other muscle groups play a role in running form and are important to include in your leg workouts. The gluteal muscles form the buttocks. They help extend the hip, straightening it beneath you. Just as important, they stabilize the trunk and keep you upright. Strong glutes contribute to good running form and alignment.
The hip muscles are also important. Because they lie deeper than hamstrings and quads, they are often neglected in workouts. Hip flexors and extenders work with the quads and hamstrings to move the legs forward and back. The hip rotator muscles stabilize the hip joint and contribute to good running form. all the leg muscles are used in running.
have outlined here about where are the dangers in running and how to protect yourself from them.
Dangers of Running
Training errors : are the most common source of injury, particularly lack of adequate stretching; rapid changes in mileage; an increase in hill training; interval training (going from slow speeds over long distances to faster over less ground); and insufficient rest between training sessions.
Muscle pull. This is a small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain. It’s often caused by over stretching a muscle. If you pull a muscle, you may feel a popping sensation when the muscle tears.
Treatment: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis, an inflammation in the bottom of the foot, is perhaps the peskiest problem that plagues the running wounded. The common characteristic of this condition is a sharp, tight, painful sensation at the base of the heel that can be anywhere from annoying to excruciating.
Causes: Overtraining, overuse, and improper or worn-out footwear can cause pain in your heel, but the root of the problem lies in tight and weakened muscles in the foot. If your feet are weak, the heel takes on an excessive load and can’t handle the training you are trying to do.typically manifest themselves as groin pain. Back discomfort that radiates down the leg is cause for referral to a sports medicine specialist.
Treatment: Avoiding bare feet, stretching and strengthening the calves, rolling your feet around on a golf ball, and icing the affected area will provide some much-needed relief relatively quickly.
Achilles Tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis manifests itself as pain at the back of the lower leg just the above the heel at the Achilles tendon—the thick band of tissue that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Runners who suffer from Achilles tendinitis will often complain of swelling and pain close to the heel, which is oftentimes sharp and can be incapacitating.
Causes: Tight lower legs put a lot of strain on the Achilles tendon, and over the course of many months of hard training, this overuse injury can develop. Aside from tight calves, unsupportive footwear can overburden the Achilles tendon over time, or a quick increase in volume and/or intensity can have the same effect much more quickly, so it’s important to pay attention to both your feet and your training—especially when you’re training hard!
Treatment: Resting, icing, and stretching will all help to temporarily relieve symptoms, and aids such as orthotics, heel lifts, and highly structured shoes are short-term solutions.
IT Band Syndrome:IT band syndrome (ITBS) results when this tendon becomes inflamed. ITBS has been compared to the feeling of somebody stabbing you in the side of the knee when you run, especially when going downhill. This annoying and painful injury can quickly become crippling if not addressed and corrected.
Causes:Running downhill and always running on the same side of the road are common culprits. Both put a lot of stress on the side of the knee and cause friction between the IT band and the femur. Over time, the IT band tightens and may swell, pain emerges, and the pain eventually intensifies to the point where it keeps runners from running.
Treatment: Massaging the quadriceps and hamstring muscles around the area, and using a foam roller on the affected area will help loosen things up, while a regimen of icing and taking an anti-inflammatory will assist in reducing inflammation.
Runner’s Knee: Patellofemoral knee syndrome. The main symptom is pain just below the kneecap that usually worsens as the intensity of exercise increases.
Causes: Everything from uneven running surfaces and poor shoe selection to weak quads and hips, as well as unaddressed biomechanical flaws, can contribute to this common injury. In most cases, runner’s knee can be traced to the inability of the tissues surrounding the knee to recover in between runs.
Treatment: If your knee continues to hurt, don’t run. If there’s inflammation, work on reducing it with the anti-inflammatory/icing regimen. Long term, switching up the surfaces you run on, strengthening the knee, making sure you’re running in the proper, not worn-out footwear, and perhaps employing some simple form fixes such as shortening your stride and striking the ground directly underneath your centre of gravity, will help keep your cranky knee from getting even angrier.
Shin Splints: At their worst, shin splints can turn into a stress fracture along the tibia, and searing pain will be felt with every stride; in less severe cases, the muscles in the shin area may be tender and inflamed, and pain lessens a few miles into the run. Either way, shin pain is a surefire way to make your running experience markedly unenjoyable.
Causes: Shin pain can most often be traced back to a sudden spike in training volume and intensity. This is why, for example, it is a common complaint among brand-new runners beginning a training program and young athletes at the start of high school track or cross-country season. When you run, your lower legs take all of the initial impact forces, which then run through the rest of your body. Newer runners’ lower legs aren’t yet strong enough to handle this stress, which is why it’s important to develop a solid base before increasing mileage or introducing speed work. Combine that inexperience with regular running on hard surfaces and worn-out or improper footwear and you have a recipe for disaster. The less mobile the muscles surrounding your shin are, the more stress there is on the entire area.
Treatment: Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories will help reduce the tenderness and inflammation. As you ease back into running, pay attention to your training, as well as to your equipment and environment. Increasing volume and intensity too quickly will almost always lead to trouble. Running on soft surfaces such as trails or grass will help reduce the impact on your lower legs, and paying close attention to the mileage on your running shoes will ensure that you’re not trotting on tired treads.
Overuse Injury:Patella (kneecap) is a common site of overuse injuries that can benefit from a 20 minute ice massage, a program of stretching and strengthening of the hamstring and quadriceps muscles and a short course of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery is rarely indicated.
Ankle laxity: can lead to frequent ankle sprains and pain. Beneficial treatment includes muscle strengthening to increase stability, shoe modification to alter gait, and change of a running sur- face. Foot problems in runners are related to foot types. Nonoperative treatment such as orthotics and shoe modifications should be used if necessary.
Ways to Prevent Running Injuries
By taking a few precautions and planning, you can prevent many common running injuries. Below tips are most important for preventing injuries.
Visit a Doctor: Don’t ignore pain. A little soreness is OK. But if you notice consistent pain in a muscle or joint that doesn’t get better with rest, see your health care provider.
Create an exercise plan: Before beginning to run down the road, talk to a trainer. A trainer can help you create a running plan that is in line with your current fitness abilities and long-term goals. Diet science leader plans are include a complete workout plan to keep you fit.
Warm-up and stretch: Many injuries occur as a result of inadequate stretching. Before and after you run, stretch your muscles thoroughly — especially your calf, hamstrings, groin, and quadriceps.
Also, warm up for five minutes — by walking, for example — before you start stretching. Stretching cold muscles may cause injuries.
Strength train: Add weight training and ab exercises to your routine. This strengthens muscles and develops core strength.
Cross train: Mix up your fitness routine. Don’t only run. Try swimming, biking, tennis, or some other activity. This helps prevent overuse injuries that more commonly occur when you do the same type of exercise over and over again.
Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin. Dress in layers. Also wear a hat to protect against the sun and cold.
Right Shoes: Aerobic shoes should provide sufficient cushioning and shock absorption to compensate for pressure on the foot many times greater than found in walking. They must also have good medial-lateral stability. Impact forces from aerobics can reach up to six times the force of gravity, which is transmitted to each of the 26 bones in the foot.
Because of the many side-to-side motions, aerobic shoes need an arch design that will compensate for these forces. Look for shoes with sufficiently thick upper leather or strap support to provide forefoot stability and prevent slippage of the foot and lateral shoe “breakup.” Make sure shoes have a toe box that is high enough to prevent irritation of your toes and nails.
Surfaces:The ideal surface on which to run is flat, smooth, resilient, and reasonably soft. Avoid concrete or rough road surfaces. If possible, use community trails that have been developed specifically for jogging and running. Hills should be avoided at first because of the increased stress placed on the knee and ankle.
Run wisely: Run on a flat, smooth surface and avoid steep hills until your body gets used to the activity.
Be safe: Run during the day, in well-lit areas, or use a light so that you can be seen. Keep a cell phone and identification on you. If running with headphones, set the volume low enough so that you can hear cars and other noises. Run with a partner when you can.
Weather matters: Monitor the weather conditions before you go for a run. Don’t run outside if it is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, below freezing, or the humidity is high.
Weather and Hydration:During warmer, humid weather, increase fluid intake; in cool weather, dress appropriately. It is often helpful to weigh yourself before and after running on a hot, humid day. One pint of water should be consumed for every pound of weight lost. Avoid running during extremely hot and cold temperatures or when the air pollution levels are high. When running at higher altitudes, the runner should gradually acclimatize to the lower oxygen levels by slow, steady increases in speed and distance.
Treatment of Common Running Injuries
Most running injuries can be relieved by following these treatment strategies. If pain and discomfort continues, see your health care provider. You may need more advanced treatment to resolve your running injury.
Rest: Take it easy. If you keep running, your injury may get worse. Choose alternative ways to exercise while you heal, such as swimming or cycling.
Ice and cold therapy: Apply ice packs to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Compression: Wrap the affected area with tape and use splints and supports to control swelling and stabilize the affected area.
Elevate: If you sprain your ankle or hurt your foot, elevate it to reduce swelling.
Stretch: To reduce pain and tension of the affected area, gently stretch and massage the injured area.
Pain relievers: Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), as recommended by your health care provider to relieve pain and inflammation.
Don’t try to push through pain. If you notice discomfort, take a break from running. If the pain continues, seek care from your health care provider.
Article written by:
Dr. Sandeep Kalra