There is no question that exercise is healthy. Running, or participating in sports or other physical activities that involve running, can help improve a person’s cardiovascular health, maintain a stable bodyweight, and more. However, running can also potentially lead to exercise-related injuries in the legs. Since different parts of a person’s leg can be vulnerable to different injuries, we wanted to share some helpful information on a few of the most common leg injuries related to exercise.
Ankle sprains are perhaps the most common of all leg injuries. They occur when the ligaments in the ankle tear or become overstretched. Ligaments hold the bones of the ankle together. While some ligament movement is normal, too much movement can cause a sprain. Ankle sprains most commonly result from taking a single awkward step or landing on a surface that isn’t flat.
If your shins throb in pain after running, you may be dealing with shin splints. Shin splints, sometimes referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome, can be incredibly painful in the front area of the leg. They occur as a result of excess stress on the shinbone that causes the connective tissues that attach muscles to bones in the shin becoming inflamed. Shin splints are often caused by weakness of ankle, core, or hip muscles, failing to properly warm-up and cool down after a workout, or running in poorly-fitting shoes.
The Achilles tendon is a very sensitive area. While many people may associate the Achilles with sudden, serious injuries like a ruptured tendon, the area is also susceptible to painful, nagging injuries like Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis is a degenerative condition that leads to a weakening of the Achilles tendon. It is caused by natural aging or overuse from too much running over the years. Someone with Achilles tendinitis is far more likely to experience a ruptured tendon.
Commonly associated with athletes like football and basketball players, a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can happen to anyone. A torn ACL typically occurs without the knee making contact with another surface. They often result from sudden stops or changes of direction while running, or making sudden movements like turns or jumps. Unlike a sprain or strain, a torn ACL may require surgery to be effectively repaired.
Getting regular physical exercise can go a long way towards helping to maintain good mental and physical wellness as we age. However, sometimes an injury is unavoidable. If you have experienced any of these (or any other) sports injuries, our sports medicine specialists can help by diagnosing the issue and developing the best-possible treatment plan to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. To learn more about the sports medicine services we offer or to schedule an appointment, contact Family Practice Center today. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and more.