Even before you get injured, it is smart to get a medical insurance since you are participating in a strenuous activity that could get you hurt. The insurance could cover your medical bills in case you get injured. For a small amount that you pay monthly, it could help you if you needed it the most since most injury can get you cash strapped.
When you do get injured, don’t take pain killers and continue running. It will worsen the injury. A short-term injury can exacerbate into a long-term if you pushed it too hard. Also, be wary that even if you have the same symptoms like your friends’, you still need professional help because you still have different physiology. What works for him might not work for you or can do you more harm than good. First thing to do is visit your family general practitioner (GP) first. For simple sports injury, your family GP would probably know how to help you but if you need a specialist, your family GP can arrange it for you. It is also good if you have a running group, you could ask them which sports specialists they go to and if the recommended specialist by your GP is good.
In terms of sports medicines, physiotherapists are widely known in their field and most skip other sports medical practitioners and go directly to a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists know and understand the natural movement and biomechanics of humans. They use different techniques such as cryotherapy (ice / cold treatment for swelling), deep-tissue massage (kneading of muscles of connective tissue that are bound by collagen even if they are healthy), interferential treatment (electrocuting injured areas via electrodes with small voltages), iontophoresis (anti-inflammatory drug is delivered to affected area by electrodes) and ultrasound (using sound waves to promote healing).
Physiotherapists focus on reducing pain and inflammation, and hastening healing of tissue. After recuperating from the injury, you could undergo series of tests which could allow the physiotherapist to correct your form, thus preventing the injury to reoccur. The physiotherapist can get you into a program that do drills that strengthen and stretches for weak or tight muscle groups.
There are other sports specialists such as the chiropractors, sports doctors, osteopaths, chartered physiotherapists, podiatrists and sports masseurs. They have different approaches to treating sports injuries but at some point, they have similar treatments to the same cases. In choosing your sports specialist, it is best to stick to one that can help you heal your injury and prevent it from reoccurring. The specialist should also be able to answer your questions regarding the injury and ways to prevent other related injuries.