» Five Tips for Runners with Leg Pain

Five Tips for Runners with Leg Pain

April 21, 2012 | Steven McElwee

Leg pain can be one of the most challenging things for runners. You have to deal with aching feet, sore calves, shin splints, and knee pains. Most of these pains will come and go, but they can really interrupt your training. They may even throw you off of your schedule and cause you to quit running.

Here are five tips for quick recovery from leg pains caused by running.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

Let your body do the work for you. Resting will give your sore legs and feet a chance to heal. Lighten up on your training schedule as well. If you are suffering from leg and foot pain, continuing your running at the same level of effort may result in on-going pain and even permanent damage. Cut back on your training. Rather than doing speed drills, tempo runs, and long runs, simply run at an easy pace for shorter distances. Try cross-training, using exercise that does not put strain on your injured body parts.

2. Apply Ice

Injuries cause swelling, and swelling can hurt and slow healing. Use ice several times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Use a cloth between the ice pack and your skin. If you do not have an ice pack that works well, try using a large bag of frozen corn. It will mold nicely to the shape of your body.

3. Use Compression

Compression causes the blood to flow through your injured area more quickly and with greater force. This increases circulation and speeds the recovery process. If you find that your feet and calves are regularly sore, try using graduated compression socks (available at most drug stores). These go all the way up to your knee and help promote circulation. They help speed recovery after aggressive or long runs even if you have not been injured. If your knee is sore, try using a knee wrap or elastic bandage that is wrapped tightly enough to cause gentle pressure but not so tight that it cuts off circulation.

4. Elevate the Affected Area

Raise the injured area above your heart. This will help reduce swelling and promote healing. Make sure the injured area is at least 12 inches above your heart. Lie down and use pillows to prop up one or both of your legs.

5. Reevaluate Your Training

Running can be deceptive, since while you are running, you feel fine and want to challenge yourself. It is when you are done that you realize how much your legs or feet hurt. If you find that you are regularly experiencing pain and spending a lot of time working on recovery, reevaluate your training. You are probably overdoing it. Cut back on your mileage, slow down, and shorten your stride. You can build on these gradually.

Please note that you should consult your physician for medical advice to ensure that you do not cause any damage to your body. People who have diabetes should not use these tips unless directed to do so by a physician.

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