Lower Leg Injury
Regardless of your age and running experience, you’ll likely experience a lower leg injury sometime in your running career. While there are preventative measures you can take, sometimes injuries just happen. Although it sucks in the short term, injuries are recoverable. Hopefully, you’ll get the information needed to understand and prevent anything major.
Basics of Lower Leg Injury
Understanding lower leg injuries while running requires a basic knowledge of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones that make up the lower leg. Knowing this information will help you diagnose and prevent injury as you start training for a marathon.
Types of Lower Leg Injury
Any injury experienced while running in the area between the knee and ankle is considered a lower leg injury. Knee pain, ankle pain, and foot injury are their own categories due to their prevalence among runners.
A strain is a tear to the muscle fibers of the calf. It’s caused by a tearing of part of the gastrocnemius or soleus muscle from the top of the Achilles tendon.
You’ll know it’s a calf strain when you feel a sudden sharp pain at the back of the leg when running.
Lower leg pain that occurs below the knee on the outside or inside of the leg plagues many runners. Beginning runners who do not build their mileage gradually can experience shin pain. Also, more experienced runners who quickly add too much mileage too quickly are prime for shin splints. Sometimes switching from running on flat surfaces to hills, or from roads to trails can cause pain in the shins.
Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are most often due to these four words: too much, too soon.
A stress fracture is a small, superficial crack in the bone.
Stress fractures can happen if you rapidly increase running volume, like adding more mileage to your training schedule. They can also occur if you intensify your running with more speedwork. Stress fractures are one of the most common and serious running injuries.