Risk Management

In an ideal runner’s world, every step would be pain-free; no aches, no twinges and no lingering soreness from yesterday’s session. But in the real world, we constantly deal with slight (or not-so-slight) niggles.

There are ‘red light’ full-blown injuries that require time off, and there’s the ‘green light’ with only transient aches that bug you one day and disappear the next. Unfortunately, many of us get stuck in the middle, ploughing through those not-quite-injured-but-not-quite-healthy amber lights.

Whether you hit red, linger on amber or get the green depends largely on how you react to that first stab of pain.

“Often it comes down to whether you take a little time off now, or a lot of time off later,” says sports injury specialist Dr Richard Price.

You can cut your risk of amber turning to red by dropping mileage, reducing intensity or starting treatment. You can dodge red lights altogether with a proactive long-term injury prevention strategy, including strength training, stretching and regular foam rolling.

“Physical therapy is like homework,” says Price. “None of us like having to do it, but if you don’t, the issue will recur.”

Price and a team of top sports injury experts have isolated the seven running injury hotspots that are the most frequently affected. Learning to read the signs and take the right action for rehab and prevention will keep your running in the green light.

Follow the links below to read about how to avoid, and beat, the seven most common body breakdowns.