Are you injured? How to detect a running injury early.

No matter how cautious we are, sustaining sports injuries are part and parcel of running. But most runners tend to brush aside the early warning signs of an injury and generally do not take action till it is too late.

What are the early warning signs of a running injury?

What are the early warning signs though and what should you look out for? Dr CHUA SOO YONG, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, has some tips.

1) Numbness

Numbness may be a sign that you are heading for an injury.

If you are feeling numbness at certain areas, Dr Chua suggests that as this is related to nerve compression, and this is a sign that you have sustained a more serious running injury.

So it means that you need to visit a doctor before something worse is allowed to develop.

2) Joint Pain

If you are having pain during regular activities such as squatting or climbing the stairs that does not resolve by itself within six weeks, then there may be structural damage to your joints.

Moreover if the same joints are painful when they are pressed, this too, is a sign that something is wrong and that you should see a specialist about it, according to Dr Chua.

3) Swelling

Sometimes swelling is obvious but other times it is less so.

Less obvious swelling presents itself as tightness in the joint and you will feel pain, reduced motion of the joint as well as some stiffness when you try and move that joint through its full range of motion.

If there is structural damage, too, you will hear a clicking or grinding sound when you try and move the joint concerned – this is also a sign that something is not right.

Sometimes swelling may be obvious; other times it may not be.

4) Weakness

If your joints feel weak or particularly lethargic after you have moved them, then this may indicate that you could have torn a muscle or tendon and should consult a specialist to see the extent of damage.

Do note too that the feeling of weakness may or may not be accompanied by pain.

5) Limited Movement

When you find that you are not able to move a particular joint through its full range of movement, this may be a sign that you have incurred an injury.

This is particularly so, if the suspected injured joint has limited movement as compared to your other opposing joint, for example, your left knee versus your right knee.

There may or may not be any pain or obvious swelling present though but despite that Dr Chua suggests that if this happens to you, then you should get it checked up before it is too late and you are rendered out of action from running.

6) Unstable joints

You may have ligament damage if your joints feel unstable when you climb the stairs.

If you feel that your joints are unstable when you are doing daily activities for example, you are climbing the stairs or you feel wobbly when you are walking to the bus stop, this may be a sign of a serious ligament injury. So seek professional advice to determine whether there is a torn ligament.

Now that you know what to look out for, Dr Chua stresses that should you experience any of these warning symptoms, you should scale back on your physical activity immediately and seek professional treatment.

This article has been adapted from 

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