Jogging Leg Pain
Jogging Leg Pain
Jogging leg pain is a fairly common injury among runners regardless of proficiency level and skill. It often starts mid-run and affects a variety of specific body parts from the thighs, knees, and shins down to the ankles. In some cases, jogging leg pain may only be a passing sensation that quickly disappears after a short rest although in some cases, it can be indicative of something else that is far more serious.
The first step in diagnosing jogging leg pain is to determine exactly which part of the leg is affected and how intense is the pain. This often leads to a definitive diagnosis that can be addressed with its corresponding treatment plan.
•Shin splints. This type of jogging leg pain affects the shin and is characterized by sharp, tense pain running from just below the knee to just above the ankle. This happens because the leg bones and calf muscles are strained beyond what they can normally tolerate, either because the runner is running too fast, the muscles are not trained enough to handle the load, or the gait is wrong so that the legs are taking on excessive forces that are more than normal.
•Cramps. Cramps affect the muscles and happen because of an imbalance in the electrolyte concentrations which causes the muscles to tense up and contract involuntarily. Cramps are really painful and can render a runner paralyzed from the pain.
•Tendinitis. This jogging leg pain affects the joints such as the knees and the ankles. It’s best described as a nagging sensation that disappears over time as you run longer and then comes back again after you’ve ran a significant distance and you start feeling fatigued. Tendinitis happens when the ligaments in the joints are not properly lubricated so it brushes against the adjoining tissues.
•Stress fractures. Stress fractures are among the most painful and serious of jogging leg pain injuries and can only be treated with the supervision of a qualified sports injury doctor. It affects the bone and is best described as a hairline fracturing of the specific bone in the area where it hurts the most.
If you are experiencing jogging leg pain on a regular basis, it is best to see a doctor immediately for a definitive diagnosis. Depending on the exact nature of the injury, it can lead to something more serious that may eventually require surgery if left unattended. At the very least, nagging jogging leg injuries may require pain management and other similar intermediate treatment options to ease the severity of the pain. Among the options that runners use to manage leg pain are icing, proper warm-up, stretching routines, and the use of non-steroidal pain relievers including regular massages.
In the long-term, prevention of jogging leg pain is best achieved by proper training and regular rest. Hydration is one thing that will help prevent cramps. The right running shoes can go a long way when it comes to improving gait, which can reduce the likelihood of stress fractures and other musculoskeletal injury.
Admittedly, jogging leg pain is a normal part of a runner’s routine. The response to the pain is what’s important as it can worsen if left unattended. Conversely, as a runner, you should listen to your body so you know when to rest, dial back the effort, or strategically design your training for peak performance with minimal stress on the legs. These steps will eventually help determine how much you can manage and prevent jogging leg pain. As a runner, there is no way to understate the importance of being diligent about taking care of your body to keep the pain at bay.