5 Simple Tips to Avoid Running Injuries
Running is a wonderful activity. But running into a painful foot or ankle injury that forces you to hang up your shoes for a while can be torturous.
While racing, setting new personal records, and a feeling of pure freedom are all valid pursuits in this sport, it should still be approached with proper technique, tactics, and a respect for your body’s limits. Although it might be impossible to cut your risk of a running injury all the way to zero, you can still greatly reduce your chances for disaster.
Whether you are a beginner to running (and welcome, if you are!) or have been racking up the miles for years already, it pays to keep the tips below in mind.
And if you are currently suffering from pain or impeded movement from a running injury of some type, there’s only one ideal tip we can offer: contact us right away for an evaluation and treatment! We’ll set you on the right track to recover, and then the advice below can help you avoid similar problems in the future.
Wear the Right Shoes
We discussed the importance of wearing proper running shoes for your needs in a previous blog post, but it can never be said enough.
Wearing shoes that fit well and provide the proper support for your feet can go a long way toward lessening or eliminating excess forces that can lead to foot and ankle injuries.
There is no one shoe that is perfect for every runner. You need to consider your foot structure, your stride, the type of ground you run on, and more to narrow down the right type of shoe.
When you are in the market for the right running shoes, talk with a trained associate at a running or sporting goods store. They have the experience to help you make good decisions.
If you have been dealing with certain types of running injuries over time, however, we recommend talking with us about it. A change in shoes might not fully fix the problem, but can be a very important part of an overall plan to address it.
Do Not Neglect Strength Training
Running is not all cardio. You are moving plenty of muscles and tendons in the process, and the stronger they are, the more resilient they will be against injury.
And it’s not only about leg strength, either. Your core and glutes also engage during running, providing stability to your hips and legs. A strong body is connected in a way that will provide overall steady support to the legs, feet, and ankles, which results in steadier impact forces that the body is better able to sustain.
Strength training should be a firm part of any running plan. We can help you integrate exercises into your routines that build conditioning where you need it most – and you may not necessarily need to hit a gym to accomplish your goals, if that doesn’t feel like something you’re up to.
Treat Rest Days Seriously
If you are training for a race or to set a new personal best, it can be easy to dismiss rest days as an obstacle. They are anything but!
Rest days are not days where nothing happens. On the contrary, they are days when your body recovers and rebuilds itself stronger after the beatings you’ve been giving it via your workouts!
If you do not provide your body with enough rest, you don’t actually get stronger and faster. Instead, the cellular breakdown of your workouts outpaces your body’s natural recovery rate, which causes it to weaken and eventually break.
For some people, a rest day means a full day of rest. For others, it may mean a shorter and much lower-intensity workout or cross-training. If you have any questions whatsoever about what type of plan would work best for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us or your primary care physician.
A long stride is not always a healthy thing. Overstriding is a common mistake that many are not even aware that they’re making, and it can place excess impact force on your feet each time you land. This excess force can increase your risk of certain injuries, such as stress fractures.
If you feel you have a stride that might be too long, please talk with us about it. If that’s the case, training your stride to be even just 10 percent shorter can significantly reduce your chances of an injury.
Maintain Good Running Posture
While your lower body is going through the paces, what is your upper body doing?
Most experts agree that good running form keeps your upper torso straight and your head directly over the shoulders. Your lower back should also not be arched. Poor posture can place extra pressure on the back and knees, which can have effects lower down as well. It can also lead to overstriding.
The stronger your core and upper body are, the better you can hold a good running posture. All of the tips are starting to connect together!
Run with Purpose, Run with a Plan
Planning out and being more mindful of your running routine doesn’t only help reduce your risk of injuries, but it also keeps you focused and on a better track toward your goals as well.
And once again, we can’t stress this enough: if you have had past injuries that have given you trouble, or recent/current injuries that are, do not hesitate to contact us about them.
We want you to keep running as well and as long as you can, and addressing these concerns properly is key to increasing your chances of doing so. We will always create treatment plans that help our patients get back into action as quickly and as safely as possible.