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Cramps, shin splints, and chest pain: what to do when running hurts

Your back, knee, hip or shins feel achy. Cause: Because running is a repetitive activity, it can stress bones and joints. As a newbie, it's easy to let enthusiasm drive us to run more miles before we're ready, which can lead to overuse injuries. Cure: Ramp up your mileage slowly, and back off if your body aches.

Running, or any exercise, will cause you to feel some pain. That's part of improving your cardiovasuclar fitness and the muscle-building process. But, how do you know the difference between normal aches and true pain, which can be the sign of something more serious?

Normal aches and pains include things like muscle soreness, some minor twinges here and there in your joints and, after a particularly long or hard run, some difficulty getting moving or stiffness. These types of aches will generally go away on their own either during a short break or after not running for a few days. If these pains persist for more than three to four days, they may be a sign of something wrong.

Some examples of pain that are not typically "normal" and should be taken seriously are:

  • sharp, stabbing pain, especially if it doesn't let up if you stop or walk

  • throbbing pain in your legs, particularly if it persists while resting

  • shortness of breath after you've rested for a few minutes

  • any sort of tightness or constricting feeling in your chest

More: What Effect Does Running Have on Your Heart?

Also if putting your full weight on either leg causes real pain in any joint, you should consider that pain outside of the norm. You know your body best so pay attention to what it's telling you. Most runners know when an ache or pain is not normal for them.

More: 4 Running Setbacks and How to Handle Them

If your pain falls more into the "normal" category, you may want to give your body an extra day to rest, but besides that you shouldn't be alarmed. However, if your pain crosses over into the more serious category, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can help diagnose what's wrong and hopefully get you back to running more quickly than if you ignore the problem.

If you can't see a doctor immediately, don't go for a run. Until you see the doctor, it is better to stay on the sidelines. While waiting, you can help yourself by using RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Using the RICE method can help heal injuries like joint pain or pulled muscles. It obviously won't do anything for shortness of breath or tightness in your chest. For those pains you really need to see a doctor right away, even visit the Emergency Room, if necessary.

More: Do's and Don'ts for Icing Injuries



Using RICE is straightforward. First you rest the injury—in other words, DON'T RUN. Next you ice the affected area, provide compression via a brace, ace bandage or perhaps compression attire, and then elevate the injury. Elevating the injured area allows blood and other fluids to run back into your body and away from the injury, thereby decreasing any swelling.

The key message to any runner is know your body. If a pain is more than what is normal for you, seek out a specialist's help, and follow their advice. Most injuries can be solved if you are smart about helping your body heal.

Why do your sides hurt when you run?

This pain is usually on the right side and just under the ribs. Exercise like horseback riding, running, and sit-ups are common causes of the side stitch. You shouldn't drink large amounts of water or eat 2-4 hours before exercise. ... Dehydration can cause cramping as well, so do not ignore water/Gatorade during running.

How do you jog properly?

Follow these tips to work on perfecting your running form.

  1. Look Ahead. Jordan Siemens/Iconica/Getty Images. ...

  2. Land Midfoot. Don't be a toe runner or a heel-striker. ...

  3. Keep your feet pointed straight ahead. ...

  4. Keep hands at your waist. ...

  5. Relax your hands. ...

  6. Check your posture. ...

  7. Relax your shoulders, too. ...

  8. Rotate arms from the shoulder

How should you breathe when running?

Inhale for three steps, exhale for two, inhale for three steps, exhale for two. Finally, of course, try out your rhythmic breathing on a run—inhaling for three footstrikes and exhaling for two. A few key points: Inhale and exhale smoothly and continuously through both your nose and mouth at the same time.

How do you land when running?

You should land mid-sole and then roll through to the front of your toes. Proponents of this view say that you want to avoid being a heel-striker. If you land on your heels, you are stopping your forward momentum and causing undue stress on your knees.

How can I run longer without getting tired?

To avoid getting tired and breathing heavy during your runs, here's what to do:

  1. Check your posture. Hold your torso straight, and avoid bending at the waist while you're running. ...

  2. Focus on deep breathing. Breathe from your belly and take a deep inhale through your mouth and nose. ...

  3. Use your arms to move you forward.

4. Be constant.

What is a gait when running?

Gait analysis provides runners with essential information about their running style. ... The major focus of gait analysis is to measure the degree of pronation. Pronation is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel strikes the ground.

#middleagefitness #workout #goodhabits