Being injured is one of the most frustrating things that runners deal with both physically and emotionally. The key to avoid getting sidelined by injury is prevention. A focus on proper gear, stretching, strengthening and mobility, you can make a big impact when it comes to staying healthy...it just takes the self-discipline to make it happen!
We asked four OrthoCarolina providers (who happen to be runners themselves) to share their top injury prevention tips with us. You'll notice some common themes here.
Dalissia Burke, PA-C (Physician Assistant), Foot & Ankle
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- Change up your activity frequently; cross-train if you are able. Running is great but it can lead to injuries like stress fractures if done daily at long distances.
- Get a fitted shoe. Not every shoe is for every person. Make sure you speak with someone that fits shoes on a daily basis and can give you the best one for your type of foot.
- Don't forget about your Achilles! A lot of patients take it for granted and forget to stretch the Achilles when stretching hamstrings and quadriceps. Stretching the Achilles can help prevent tendonitis in the future.
- Have your running shoes fitted by someone familiar with runners’ unique footwear needs, who can examine your feet and your gait while running to determine the best shoe for your foot.
- Stretch regularly. I cannot emphasize this enough. Tight muscle groups cause a variety of orthopedic problems including hip and knee pain. It takes time to stretch, but it’s much better to invest the time now and not develop issues that prevent you from running all together.
Dana Dempsey, PA-C (Physician Assistant), Hand Center & University
- Use a foam roller regularly. Foam rollers help to roll out tightness in the IT bands, quads and calves!
- Yoga is a wonderful compliment to running. I can’t live without foam rolling or yoga when it comes to running!
Chris Gabriel, PT,OCS,CSCS, Ballantyne
- Stay strong by maintaining proper strength of your gluteus medius and maximus muscles, which control motion at the hip, knee and ankle and can decrease stress on your joints.
- Give yourself a rub down. Incorporate self soft tissue work using a foam roller, tennis ball, or other device with a focus on your quads and iliotibial band.
- Change your ‘tires’. Shoes lose their ability to support and cushion over time. Changing shoes out frequently may be just as important as being in the right type of shoe for your foot. Consider doing some balance work in bare feet which can improve the functioning of your natural foot muscles and decrease your reliance on shoes.