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How to Avoid Running Injuries

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • There are numerous factors which can help prepare your body for running, including a fully balanced diet, getting sufficient rest, drinking plenty of water and being sure to give yourself enough time to recover fully in the event that you suffer an injury while out running. Do not, under any circumstances, return to running or strenuous exercise too quickly after such an injury, as this could lead to a chronic condition.
  • A longer stride length has the potential to cause knee injury as well as hip and back pain, due to longer strides increasing the impact felt by the knees.
  • Warming up and cooling down before and after every run will help reduce the risk of injury.

 

Running as a form of exercise is often viewed as relatively easy; just get a pair of running shoes and off you go. However, for anyone who has taken running training seriously or fallen in love with the joy of running, they will have found that running is a lot more complicated than that, particularly with regard to the techniques required to reduce running-related injuries.

Simply running, free from injury

Those who have recently taken up running tend to experience pain in the shins or ankles after a short while. Such pain is the result of various muscle groups in these areas of the legs being unable to absorb the impact of running properly, causing those muscles to constrict, lose their flexibility and swell up.

Some may subsequently rest for a couple of days or take some anti-inflammatory medicine which helps them recover before they make an immediate return. However, this means they have not found a solution to the true cause of their muscle inflammation, which could potentially result in their injury developing into a chronic disorder.

Prevention is better than cure

  • Your stride length should not be too long, as this will increase the impact felt by the knees, eventually resulting in a knee injury. Moreover, a long stride length can potentially cause issues to arise in the hips and back.
  • Warm up each and every time, whether that be a dynamic or movement-based stretching routine, as this will prepare your muscles, circulatory and cardiovascular system properly for exercise. This can be done with a brisk walk or slow jogging for around 5-10 minutes prior to your main run session.
  • Selecting the right footwear is something that should not be overlooked. Your shoes should fit properly and also contain soles which are designed to absorb impact, or specially designed for running.
  • Utilize equipment designed to support the balls of your feet if you suffer from flat footedness or a low arch, because extended periods of running increases the impact felt by the knees and ankles when compared with those who have normal foot arches. The equipment used should be inserted into the shoe and, if you are unsure of whether or not you require such assistance, consult a specialist physician.
  • Increase calf and thigh muscle strength by weight training 2-3 times a week, in order to provide sufficient support for your legs while running.
  • Gradually increase distance and speed according to your body state, being sure to take breaks within your training. Also make sure that your sessions are not too strenuous, as this will ultimately result in muscle fatigue and injury.
  • Do not forget to cool down after your run, meaning that you slow down your run as it draws to an end. Then, walk slowly for a short while in order to restore your muscles to their normal state.

Apart from keeping healthy by eating a healthy, balanced diet consisting of the five main food groups in moderation, getting enough rest and drinking plenty of water will all play a crucial role in preparing your body to run well. Furthermore, if you are carrying a running injury, make sure that you rest and allow your body to make a full recovery before resuming your training once more. Additionally, for those with chronic muscle complaints, a doctor should be consulted to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment for your injury.

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