My experience and learning from injury.

All runners at some time will be injured. I’ve had a couple of ankle sprains, shin splints and knee pain. One of my ankle injuries was caused by trying to keep up with my Dad and brother, in pints not miles. The other was during a race, my only DNF* so far and shin splints were due to beginner’s enthusiasm and lack of knowledge. I think that the knee injury  was due to increasing training too quickly.

Most soft tissue injuries are resolved with PRICE** so my first tip would be to invest in an ice pack. I have a pair that are gel filled and reusable, they also came with a pouch that can be secured around the area. Frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel does work just as well but seems a waste of perfectly good peas.

With the majority of injuries I would recommend seeing a professional. Physios and sports therapists are particularly good at this stuff. Even if it’s just a consultation and you take away advice and a plan of exercise to get you up and running again.

Rest is crucial and can be combined with elevation. Settle yourself in a comfy place with some nice soft pillows to raise your limb on, the TV controls and a slave to tend to your every need. If a slave is not available children / partners make a suitable alternative.

Sprained ankles are very painful and colourful, the bruising is quite spectacular. It’s a good idea to attend A&E to rule out bony injuries then you can embark on a programme of recovery. With a sprain you can expect to be out for at least 6 weeks and the discomfort and stiffness can last much longer. Do not rush back into running too soon, I know it’s hard but it is necessary.

Ankle injury following a fall in Dalby Forest

I wouldn’t recommend using compression bandages unless you know what you are doing, it has to be tight to work but too tight can be dangerous. A safer alternative is elasticated tubular bandages. There are a variety of sizes so check the box and make sure that you get the right size, too big will not do anything and too small can cause circulation problems. Ice and rest will help with recovery alongside the right stretches. I would always recommend seeing a professional, ideally a physio or sport therapist.

Drunken injury. Taping courtesy of Ryan Carmody, bling is my own work.

Prevention is better than cure so make sure that you have good shoes, pay as much as you can afford. I use outlet stores to get really good ones for not too much money, I’ve paid as little as £15 in the clearance section. Try to mix up the surfaces you run on, add in a bit of grass or mud. I like a bit of mud on a run.

Don’t try to do too much too soon and listen to your body. And don’t get drunk at rugby matches.

When I first started running I got a little bit too enthusiastic and ended up with shin splints. I tried to run through the pain but that made it worse, the only thing that worked was rest and rehab exercises. I consulted a physio and made a full recovery. He used specialist sports tape and recommended a course of exercises. I was soon back in action and waddling around the streets of South Leeds.

The worry with injury is that you will lose the progress that you’ve already made, with shin splints non weight bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming can help maintain fitness levels. Just be careful that you don’t fall off your bike and cause another injury.

After an increase in training I started getting pain on the side of my knee which I discovered is where the iliotibial band is. I tried buying new trainers, any excuse, I know. That worked for a little while but massage and rest were the only things that actually worked for me. I have a strap specifically made for knee injuries with a pressure area to focus on one particular area.

If you look closely you can see a neck buff made into a knee support.

A good way of preventing injury or spotting them early is to have a sport massage with a suitably qualified professional. I regularly let Dalia pummel my muscles into submission and not only is she fantastic with my calves, she has become a good friend and a never ending source of advice.


*Did Not Finish

**Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation

Recommendations – these are my personal opinions and I am not being paid.

Ryan Carmody, physio

Dalia Hawley, massage therapist and lovely friend

Nic is a sports therapist, I have not used her personally but have heard good things about her and she has given me some good advice

Further reading

I use NHS choices for all sorts of advice, it’s sensible and easy to understand, none of that confusing medical language 

Women’s running magazine



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