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What Do You Do When Treadmill Running Injuries Strike?

Today I want us to look at what we can do when we fall victim to some treadmill running injuries.

1. Ankle Sprain: If your footing on the treadmill belt is wrong, it is possible to twist it inwards when the speed is set to high. It can damage the outward ligaments. Consult your doctor as soon as this happens. Ligament tear, if severe can be very painful (sometimes more painful than a fracture). If you cannot see your doc immediately, follow the RICE method (Rest, Ice pack, Compression/Support Bandage and Elevation) in the meanwhile. Use the first opportunity you get to consult the doctor.

2. Foot Blisters: If you cover long distances on your treadmill, or if you have the wrong shoes, it is possible to develop blisters on your feet. Generally, it is caused by friction from the shoes rubbing against your skin. The skin separates and lymph fluid sets in its place. Burst the blister with a sterilised or boiled and cooled needle. Let out the fluid by squeezing it gently. This relieves pain. Dry the areas with a clean cotton wool patch and leave the skin covering on to protect it from infection. Put an antiseptic cream and cover with a blister plaster.

3. Runner’s Knee: Knee pain can be caused by any high impact activity – running or jogging on the treadmill is one such activity. Even a mildly skewed kneecap rubs against the kneecap groove and wears down the surrounding cartilage. It may cause fluid build up resulting in inflammation and pain. Start with a RICE treatment and follow it up by massage, knee strength and stretching exercises. Consult your doctor if the pain persists beyond a fortnight. When you restart on the treadmill, wear a knee support for a few weeks before letting go.

4. Lower back Strain: This can be caused by a weak lower back or weak muscles surrounding and just above the hipbone. Any run, treadmill included, is harsh on the lower back. It can also be caused by overdoing your jogging/running. The treatment should begin with RICE and taking anti-inflammatory pills. Electrotherapy is also recommended where small electric signals are sent to the brain to block the pain signals. Get the advice of your GP before you do this. Eventually strengthen the muscles around your back with the appropriate core strength exercises. In the meanwhile, shift to low impact workouts (biking, swimming etc).

5. Shin Splints: This is the most common party-pooper. It is a painful condition and a very slow healer.

It is referred to as the Medial Tibial Syndrome. One cause could be overused shins. The other could be over-developed or very strong calf muscles without a supporting antagonist shin muscle. See your doctor. Treatment basically consists of rest until the pain subsides. You should back it up with anti-inflammation pills, Ice etc. Increase the intake of calcium and take the time to develop your shin through exercises (such as Wall Shin raises and Heel Step Downs). Focus on how your foot lands on the treadmill belt when you return. Use the rest phase to get into swimming or biking etc, which do not affect the shins with high impact.

There are other injuries that can result out of improper form, technique, gear etc in jogging/running. These are Plantar Fasciitis, pulled muscles, heelball injury and cramps. I will be taking them up in the next post.

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