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Running Safety

Running has long been hailed as the ‘It” exercise. It gets your heart rate up, causes tons of sweat and helps in weight loss so it has to be always good right? Well, maybe not so right.

There are serious health risks associated with running that could compromise your body and should never be overlooked. Here are seven to watch out for:

1. Sudden cardiac arrest

Though the risk stands at about 1 in every 200,000 runners, the possibility of cardiac arrest still exists. Sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency and occurs when there is an unexpected loss of heart function. Shortness of breath and unconsciousness quickly follow and lead to death if not quickly treated. Men in the mid 30s to mid 40s age range are most prone to this although women are not completely free of risk. The most likely cause apart from a history of heart problems is taking part in running you are not really prepared or warmed up for.

2. Runner’s knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the medical term for runner’s knee. It is caused by exercise activities that require a lot of stress on the knee. Repeated bending, walking, lunges, biking and jumping are the major factors leading to this condition. It manifests as a pain around and behind the knee cap.

3. Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS)

In simple terms, the Iliotibial band is a thick tendon that starts from the hip, stretches from the outside thigh through the knee and down to the shin in both legs. As it approaches the knee it narrows and rubbing (friction) takes place between the tendon and the bone causing inflammation. You are likely to feel a stinging pain and notice swelling over the knee with the pain intensifying gradually especially when you try to put the affected foot on the ground.

ITBFS is very common amongst runners and seems to occur more frequently in women than men.

4. People with Arthritis

The misconception that running causes Arthritis has been around for ages. Arthritis (in this case that of the knee) is genetic. However, if you have already been diagnosed with arthritis, the continuous pounding impact on the knee as your feet hit the ground while running will worsen the condition. It is advisable to see your doctor first before taking up running.

5. Plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a flat strip of tissue connecting your heel bones to your toes. It holds the arch of your foot in place. When strained, it becomes swollen and painful causing a term called Plantar Fasciitis. It is the most common cause of heel and under foot pain and gets worse when you try to stand or walk.
Though known to affect middle aged people more, it frequently occurs in young people who stand a lot (think soldiers, guards and athletes).