RUNNING INJURIES SERIES – INJURY PREVENTION TIPS
This series we’ve covered a number of the most common running injuries we see in the clinic. Running injuries can happen to anyone, but you can minimize your risk of injury with the following tips.
Warm up. Warming up your body before you start running by getting key muscles activated is an effective way to ensure your running at optimal level and priming your body to reduce risk of injury. Commonly the key muscles groups to activate are those of the low limbs (Glutes/Quads/Hamys/Calves) and your Core.
Increase your running volume slowly. Time and time again we see overload as one of the key contributing factors to injury. Many runners follow the 10 percent rule, meaning that they don’t increase their weekly volume of running by more than 10 percent at a time. Start slow and build up your capacity progressively over several weeks to allow your body to adapt to the increase in load.
Take care of nagging injuries. Address nagging injuries early so they don’t develop into more serious issues. Gone are the days of “I was hoping the issue would just go away”. If nothing changes in your training and your body keeps getting exposed to the same things, then neither will those niggles. That’s where we come in. A physio can give you a proper diagnosis and provide you with a customized treatment plan to keep you active.
Work on your technique. Poor running technique can often be a factor when we talk about injuries. Poor biomechanics increase the amount of stress on your muscles and joints. If you’re body is exposed to increased stress over and over then injuries tend to pop up at the weakest link of the chain. The body is very clever and will always try to find the path of least resistance, but this can be to your detriment. Filming your running technique and making simple to implement changes to maximise your running efficiency is one of the ways we can help reduce the stress you put through your body while running and ultimately reduce the risk of injury.
Strengthen your hips. The hips are the linchpin between you lower and upper body and so make sure you focus on building up as much strength and stability around them as possible. Include stability exercises in your training program such as glute bridge variations or single-leg squats, and ensure you throw in some single leg glute stability exercise as accessories. Getting a tailored strength training program by your physio to complement your running loads is a great way to help you protect your joints and muscle.
Use soft surfaces. Running on grass, rubber tracks, sand, or gravel is often easier on your joints than running on pavement. Softer impact on your joints means less stress being put through them. If you’re dealing with a nagging injury, try running on a soft surface to help offload while you implement some of the other strategies above.
Consider cross-training. While running is life, your body sometimes needs to offload before that niggle turns into a longer lasting injury. That doesn’t mean you should stop moving all together! Try to switch it up and include some low impact workouts into your schedule such as cycling or swimming to help maintain your aerobic fitness while giving your joints a break from the repetitive impact of running.
The bottom line is that nearly all runners will experience an injury at some point. If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort when running, don’t just ignore it, take action!
If you’re suffering from pain when running and want to get thoroughly assessed and an individualised treatment plan made, then book in a full Running Assessment at Befit Physio’s: The Running Space in Coogee.