Running is so beneficial for your health and well-being! It can improve your overall health, lower cholesterol levels and improve lung function; help you lose or maintain your weight; prevent certain diseases and even boost your mood.
If you’re afraid of injuring yourself while running, be assured that running injuries are not inevitable! There are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for a running program and avoid some basic injuries.
When Runners Are Vulnerable to Injury
Beginning runners in the first few months of an exercise program are most prone to getting injured. Runners also may hurt themselves when ramping up running distance or speed, or when returning to the track after an injury.
There are some recurring causes of injuries that are either preventable or avoidable:
Training errors. Be sure to begin a running program slowly. Always do a short warm-up walk or jog with simple stretches before each run. Take adequate time after each workout to stretch thoroughly.
Too-rapid program changes. You may want to increase your speed and mileage, switch to more challenging terrain or incorporate some interval training. However, to avoid injury, it’s important to introduce these enhancements gradually.
Insufficient rest. The amount of rest needed after a workout is a very individual thing. Variables like injuries, age, type of training and workout intensity play a part. Listen to your body – if you’re sore and tired after 3 consecutive days of running, switch your schedule to 2 days of running with a day of rest afterwards. Your “rest” day can still be active with other activities like walking and bicycling.
Improper running shoes. Invest in your feet by purchasing well-fitting, supportive, high quality shoes. Make sure the shoes suit your individual foot anatomy and replace them every 500-600 miles.
Poor running surfaces. Look for surfaces that are flat and somewhat elastic like a high school running track or community running trail. Avoid running on pavement or concrete or any surface that is uneven or broken. Build up your strength before trying any hills.
Stay Injury-Free with These Preventive Tips
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM offers these common-sense tips to avoid running injuries:
- Begin each run with a slow warm-up and gentle stretch.
- Stretch hamstring, quadriceps and calf muscles after every workout.
- Allow for adequate recovery time between runs.
- Apply ice to sore muscles.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication when needed with your doctor’s permission.
- Get rid of worn-out running shoes.
- Increase the intensity of your run gradually.
Read our related blog: Help Prevent Injury to Your Young Athlete.
Call Us if You Have Heel, Foot or Ankle Pain During or After Running
It’s important to suspend your running regimen and get professional help right away for any foot pain. Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist specializes in sports injuries and can quickly diagnose and treat problems like sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. You can contact our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Get help now so you will soon be back on track!