As runners, there are a few injuries that are all too common within our ranks.
Plantar fasciitis. Shin splints. IT band syndrome. Stress fractures.
In most cases, when a runner is struggling with one of these issues we look for a solution in our running.
Maybe we need new shoes. Or a tweak to our form. Or we’ve increased our mileage too quickly.
But what if I told you that the actual root cause of some running injuries has nothing to do with running?
Not All Running Injuries are Due to Running
I’ll give you a moment to let this profound bit of insight penetrate your brain.
I know this can be a bit of a hard one to wrap your head around, but allow me to try and explain further.
When you go for a run and something hurts during/after your run, there is at least a decent chance that running is to blame.
But running isn’t always to blame.
Sometimes running can exacerbate the symptoms of an underlying issue, the cause of which is not related to your running in the least.
Potential Non-Running Causes of Running Injuries
To try and help me make my point a bit more clearly, here are a few examples of some things you may be doing in your life outside of running that could definitely be causing, or at the least contributing to, any number of common running injuries.
Point blank, high heels are not good for you!
And before I go any further, let me point out that this isn’t just an issue for the ladies.
Fellas, wearing dress shoes and/or work boots with a raised heel me seem like no big deal when compared to height of some fancy heels that the ladies may wear, but they can absolutely still cause you problems.
When you’re wearing a shoe with a heel, your calf muscles and achilles tendon are going to be in a shorter than normal position.
If this happens frequently enough, say five days a week for eight or more hours per day, over time that can lead to a permanent shortening of those muscles.
And a short/tight calf and/or achilles tendon can definitely contribute to a variety of issues.
Plantar fasciitis. Achilles tendonitis. Bursitis. Calf strain.
Just to name a few.
Too Much Sitting
I read an article awhile back that made the bold claim that sitting was the new smoking.
I’m not going to go that far, but there is no doubt in my mind that too much sitting can be a real issue.
Just like high heels put the muscles in your calf and your achilles tendon into shorter positions, sitting too much does the same thing for you hip flexors.
And tight hip flexors are no bueno.
I’d be willing to bet that most of us do a lot more sitting than we realize.
Driving in the car. Eating dinner. Watching TV. At the office.
Those are the big ones, but there are probably a dozen other times when you find yourself sitting over the course of the week.
And the more you’re sitting the shorter (and tighter) your hip flexors are likely to become.
This can mess up your gait/form which not only impacts your performance but can also contribute to just about any running related injury there is.
Shin splints. Stress fractures. IT band. Runner’s knee.
Need I go on?
One Sidedness (Purse, Baby, Wallet, etc)
Most of us favor one side of our body or the other every single day.
The shoulder you carry your purse on. Which arm you hold a baby with or carry your briefcase. In which pocket you put your phone or wallet.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a big deal.
But over time, these types of behaviors can create some serious differences between one side of your body and the other.
And that type of discrepancy is asking for trouble.
What kind of injuries are we talking about here?
Well, it depends on the activity.
But I don’t think it’s hard to imagine how one side of your body being dramatically different from the other could lead to an issue due to the repetitive stresses of running.
What to Do Now?
My point with today’s post/episode isn’t to make you paranoid about how every little thing you do in your daily life may be contributing to your risk of sustaining an injury on your next run.
Instead, the goal of this quick tip is to help you remember that when it comes to running injuries it’s not always as simple as saying you need new shoes or you need to slow down or tweak your form slightly or whatever.
Will those things help?
In many cases, yeah.
But in some cases, and maybe in more than even I realize, the root of the issue has less to do with the hour or so we spend running a handful of days per week and more to do with the things we are doing over the course of the other 23 hours a day.
What Can You Do to Limit Your Chances of Dealing with a Non-Running Related Running Injury?
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