Running injuries are quite painful. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid the most common injuries from occurring! Injuries often happen when you push yourself too hard. Prevention is key for everyone from beginners to seasoned runners! Poor running form and body movements can contribute to some of the most common injuries.
Some of the most common running injuries are:
Foot pain – Plantar Fasciitis
Ankle pain- Achilles tendonitis
Shin pain – shin splints
Knee pain – runner’s knee
Hip or knee pain – IT band syndrome
Leg pain – hamstring strain
Stretching is essential to improve and maintain flexibility, which will improve performance and prevent injuries. Stretching should be done after 10 minutes of warming up your muscles. Incorporate these exercises high knee drills, skipping, bounding, arm circles, and cross body arm swings for maximum performance.
Strength training improves a runner’s strength and overall athleticism. Strength training exercises should focus on all muscle groups including the trunk and upper and lower body to help fight muscle fatigue. Try weight lifting, plyometrics and hill running to increase strength. Focus on improving strength year-round. This includes the offseason, pre-season and maintaining while in season.
Staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet is key. Pre-hydrating prevents dehydration. Start drinking two hours prior to practice and more after warm-up. Take in more fluids every 15-20 minutes during exercise. Within two hours after exercise, re-hydrate with fluids. A cooled 4-8% carbohydrate solution is the best for your body.
Warm Up, Cool Down & Periodization
Warming up and cooling down before and after all runs and races are musts. Warm-ups flush out lactic acid build-up in muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness. Increase your mileage gradually and periodize your training. Periodization is defined as gradually preparing the body to handle workout stress. Increase training volume, duration by a gradual increase of 5-10% per week. Rest days must be included in your training to allow your body to recover and adapt to a running workout. There are many running apps or used an old-fashioned pencil and paper.
Have a running expert or coach to analyze your training program. They can help you develop an appropriate training schedule to meet your running goals and prevent injury. Ineffective running programs can cause overtraining, running injuries and poor performance.
Visit a running store to be fitted for proper footwear. The type of shoe you need depends upon the structure of your foot, the degree of pronation and your style of running. The normal inward rolling of your foot in running as your foot strikes the ground and transitions into pushing off is pronation. Contact Suffolk Foot & Ankle so that we can analyze your running gait. Poor foot biomechanics can lead to inefficiency and injuries. These issues can be corrected with custom-made orthotic inserts.
Patient education is very important to us at Suffolk Foot and Ankle. Schedule an appointment today. We can also recommend some good habits and practices that both serious and recreational runners can take to avoid or minimize injury.
Now that you know how to avoid injuries, get out there and start running!