Both walking and running provide similar health benefits like enhancing physical fitness, improving stamina, promoting emotional well-being, and improving immunity. However, running has an upper hand in burning calories at a faster rate, when compared to walking. Though both are considered safe forms of exercise, there are potential injuries which, if ignored, can cause severe complications. Below are the details.
The Most Common Running And Walking Injuries
1. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fascia is a thick fibrous tissue which acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot. Overexerting this tissue while walking, running or using inappropriate footwear (during any kind of physical activity) causes plantar fasciitis.
Feeling an intense pain in your feet when you take the first few steps in the morning is one of the prominent symptoms.
2. Achilles Tendinopathy
Achilles tendinopathy is a combined term used for achilles tendinitis and achilles tendinosis. While achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the achilles tendon connecting calf and heel bone, achilles tendinosis is a tiny tear in and around the tendon. It is mainly caused due to overuse of ankles or due to a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of the workout.
A pain and swelling in the ankle are the main symptoms, apart from inflexibility and weakened ankles. The pain remains moderate to mild and is evident only while walking and running.
3. Shin Splints
The pain felt in the front and the inside of the lower leg, in the shin bone is called shin splints. It usually occurs when you change the surface you walk or run on. It also occurs if you increase the duration of physical activity.
4. Runner’s Knee
Unlike the name, any person and not just a runner is prone to runner’s knee. It is the condition in which a severe pain is felt in the inside of the knee, as a result of its overuse. The pain usually arises if your kneecap is out of alignment. Persistent overuse further leads to wear and tear of the kneecap, leading to pain.
5. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB Syndrome)
The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous tissue that runs along the lateral side of your leg from the hip to knee. Overuse of this tissue results in the irritation and inflammation, leading to pain. Ill-fitting shoes and sudden increase in the inclination or mileage are the primary causes.
Pain in the knee at the beginning or end of walking/running is the common symptom. The symptoms are also prominent when one is taking an uphill road, inclines, or stairs.
6. Muscle Pull
Not just during walking and running, a muscle pull can happen even when you overstretch to grab something out of reach. It occurs when the tiny muscles undergo a small tear, resulting in strain. A popping sensation is usually felt when the tear happens. The most commonly affected areas are calf muscles, groin, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
7. Stress Fracture
A small crack in the bone while working too hard before getting used to a new terrain or activity is called stress fracture. It causes discomfort and pain. The pain usually elevates if one continues the physical activity without taking adequate rest.
8. Lower Back Pain
Running can affect your posture if not done under proper guidance and terrain. This leads to lower back pain, which could extend down the legs. The pain ranges from mild to severe.
Being aware of your body’s balance and mechanics helps you fix most of these issues. Knowing the flexibility and stretchability limits of your muscles is important to avoid any muscle or ligament tear. Also, if you are planning to increase your intensity and duration of the running/walking, doing it gradually saves your muscles from the extra, impulsive strain.