Running Injury and Prevention
Running is a great form of exercise, not only for your health but for mental well-being. It’s flexible and affordable and can get us outdoors and in the fresh air. Coming in to the warmer months seems a perfect time to start running to get fit for the up coming summer season. Unfortunately, this all too common scenario often leads to various injuries to the recreational runner. Think of how many times you have heard a runner talk about runners knee, Achilles pain or even back pain when running. Despite this, running injuries are easily managed and even better yet, prevented.
There are several elements necessary to running injury and prevention: strength, mobility, good form and appropriate running shoes are key.
Running requires adequate strength of our calves, thighs and buttocks. More importantly, to run efficiently we need good core control through our lumbo-pelvic region. It is important to build running strength and endurance whilst pounding the pavement however, it is beneficial in terms of injury management and prevention to compliment this with strength and core stability exercises. There are general strength exercises that can be used to improve strength however; it is a good idea to have an individual assessment so that your specific needs are addressed.
In our everyday lives we often lose some of the flexibility that we once had in our more youthful years. Running requires excellent hip, knee and ankle mobility. Past injuries or postural changes can limit our flexibility causing compensations when we run. This also can lead to injury. General mobility is easily addressed through stretching and mobility exercises.
The recreational runner, whilst not requiring perfect running form, requires a general understanding of how to be a more efficient runner. There are simple suggestions about foot placement, body position, arm swing and stride cadence that can be used by the amateur runner that can assist in being a more efficient runner to reduce the risk of injury.
Running shoes are certainly important in providing adequate support through your feet. Our foot posture can not only contribute to problems in the feet but further up the kinetic chain as well. Each foot has individual needs that need to be assessed by a well qualified provider
For the many people who enjoy running, niggles and injuries are common place however this needn’t be the case! With a few simple exercises and some practical advice running can be more enjoyable and can be a long-term health and fitness activity.