As a frequent runner, I’ve had to find many ways to get rid of running injuries over the past several years. I’ve suffered from hip pain, lower back pain, shin splints, and chronic knee pain. Through endless searching and physical therapy that didn’t work, I finally found ways to get rid of running injuries for good. These will also be helpful if you are suffering from other running injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis.
1. Wear Compression Socks
This was my most important tool to get rid of running injuries. It got rid of both my shin splints and surprisingly my knee pain! It was amazing because I was suffering with chronic knee pain, but once I started wearing compression socks after my runs, it just disappeared. Presumably, my lower leg muscles were tense and were pulling on my knee to cause pain. That’s why I think these would be good for people with Achilles or hamstring problems. They were also good at keeping my shins secure and relieving pain. They are a bit expensive at about 30 dollars a pair (you can find them at most sports stores), but they are so worth it! I also like wearing them during my runs when I know I’m going to need a little more support for hills.
2. Apply Pain-Relieving Cream
Not just any pain-relieving cream though, because that doesn’t treat the cause. I used Peaceful Mountain Joint Rescue gel on my knee, then I put the compression socks on, and I was pain-free. This stuff actually works, and it works by using natural anti-inflammatories such as aloe vera. You won’t have to worry about any nasty ingredients in this gel, with its anti-inflammatory herbs and celery seed. If you are suffering from an injury that isn’t joint-related, Peaceful Mountain also makes a really good Muscle Rescue gel that is good for massaging your legs with. Both are natural and reduce inflammation or tension, both of which can cause many injuries.
3. Practice Yoga and Stretching
Yoga is the most important thing I did to get rid of my back and hip pain. Certain poses are good for certain injuries, but you must be careful not to over-extend any muscles or joints to make your injury worse. Poses like child’s pose, cobra pose, and downward facing dog are good ones for injuries. If you have tight hamstrings or Achilles, go into downward facing dog by getting on your hands and knees, gently lifting your hips, extending your heels as close to the floor as possible. For hip pain, cobra pose is very beneficial, and you start by getting on your hands and knees, lowering your hips down, keeping your legs straight behind you, arms straight, and bend back slightly to feel stretch in your hip flexors. For lower back pain, child’s pose really helps if you stay there awhile, and all you have to do is get on your hands and knees, sit back on your heels, lower your head forward as close to the ground as possible, and put your palms face down on the ground in front of you. Breathe deep for all of these, and feel your pain disappearing. I will note that this isn’t always instant relief for people – it can take some time, so be patient!
4. Use Heating and Cooling Packs
This technique will vary depending on your injury, but applying hot or cold is great for relieving muscle tension. Putting heat on your injury will reduce muscle tightness, while putting cold on will improve circulation and reduce inflammation. If you aren’t sure which one is causing your injury, you can always try one and see if it works for you. I like putting ice packs on my knees, as I find that really helpful in reducing joint inflammation. Heating pads are good for back pain and really relax your back muscles. The great thing about this is that it works for almost any injury.
Getting a massage can be tremendously beneficial in healing your injuries. You don’t even have to get a professional one – you can get family to give you one or do it yourself! All you have to do is massage you muscles, and you can use relaxing essential oils like eucalyptus or the Peaceful Mountain Muscle Rescue gel to get further benefits. Massaging will help flush wastes from your muscle tissues, creating less pain and inflammation. Sometimes it’s a good idea to massage in an area that may be pulling on your injured area. For example, I massaged the back of my legs because that was likely pulling on my knee and shins.
6. Strength Train
I don’t know how many times I heard “you need to strengthen your quads” to get rid of my runners knee. I did every single exercise my physical therapist told me to do, but nothing worked. Plus, I already had really strong quad muscles! I did not do any injury-specific strength training, but instead I did overall body conditioning. That means I strengthened my arms, back, butt, and core muscles enough so that there were no imbalances anywhere. All of these areas are important, so if you are suffering from any injuries, make it a point to work on some of these to make sure there are no imbalances that could be throwing you off.
7. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
This one is so important, especially for women who tend to restrict their calories. If you have an injury, you are going to need extra fuel for repairing and rebuilding your muscles. Not junk fuel either – healthy fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds. Let’s say you restrict your calories when you are injured because you aren’t doing any activity; it makes sense, right? No, not really. Well, if you eat just what your body needs to survive and nothing more, what energy is going towards injury repair? I rest my case. Please do not try and restrict your calories when you are injured like I did – it will just make things worse in the long run. Don’t go overboard either, but take a good look at your diet and make sure you are getting enough to eat.
Whether you have knee pain or Achilles tendonitis, your injury can be conquered. These are the options that helped me beat my injuries for good, and I hope you can do the same. I am now able to run as much as I please, which is a huge blessing for me, and I really hope some of you get the same reward soon enough. Have you found anything that’s helped with your running injuries?