7 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of a Running Injury.
Plan to Start a Running Regimen? Here are Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Injury
Running is a fun, beneficial
activity for the entire family. And while it's typically a safe sport, there
are things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you will experience
There are two
categories of injuries associated with running, says Chris Miles, MD, associate director of the
Sports Medicine Fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist Health, and head primary care team
physician for athletics at Wake Forest University: overuse injuries and acute injuries.
"We more commonly—though not exclusively—see overuse injuries with
running," he says. "These can include stress fractures or stress
reactions in the foot, lower leg or hip; tendonitis or tendinopathy in the
lower extremities around the foot and ankle; and IT (Iliotibial) band inflammation along the outside of the
Dr. Miles says that while running-related injuries are not 100 percent preventable, there are steps
you can take to make them less likely. Here are a few of his tips.
Talk to your doctor if you have a history of
certain illnesses. Running is a
healthy activity for many people, but those who have a history of heart
disease, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, osteoporosis or
diabetes should check with their doctor before beginning a running regimen.
Invest in quality footwear. High-quality running shoes may improve performance and
reduce injury risk. Talk to a sports medicine specialist or a knowledgeable shoe sales consultant for advice on choosing the right shoe. If you're
considering minimalist or barefoot running, you'll need to adapt your running regimen to account for a different stride, foot
strike and pace.
Don't increase your mileage too quickly. Going too far too soon is probably the most
common mistake people make when they start a running program. Instead, you should slowly build both mileage and intensity.
Make sure children start at a limited mileage and
work their way up. It's never too early to start some form of a running program, but you
should make sure children start out easy. "Just like with adults, the buildup should be slow. This may mean running a while and then walking some as well
Include other exercises. Don't lose sight of the other aspects of musculoskeletal
health. Resistance training is a helpful exercise
for runners. And don't forget that post-activity stretching is an important
component as well.
When recovering from an injury, don't lose ground. If you experience a running-related injury, it may be
tempting to avoid activity for a few days. But instead you should focus on activity modification. In other words, take a break
from the activity that caused the injury, but don't stop doing everything. Keep
up exercises like swimming, cycling, resistance training and weight training so
that you don't lose conditioning while you're recovering.
Stay hydrated. It's important to remain hydrated any time you're running,
but especially during warm-weather months when the risk for heat-related illnesses rises.
If you're going to be running or participating in intense activity for an hour
or longer, it's best to drink a beverage containing electrolytes and
carbohydrates. For anything less than an hour, water is fine.
Request a Sports Medicine appointment online now.