How to prevent running injuries
By Brianne Showman, OS1st Guest Blogger
Photo Credit: Rick Evans Media
Injuries are a frustrating part of sport (and life) that show up as chronic-type injuries when you have no clue what caused it or traumatic-type injuries when it was inevitable in the moment. I have dealt with both types of injuries personally and as a physical therapist helping athletes sort it all out.
Running injury prevention
In my experience, I have come to realize something big: most injuries are preventable – not all, because life still happens (rolled ankles, falls, contact injuries, etc.) - but most running injuries can be avoided with proper daily movement, running technique and recovery.
Move properly throughout the day
As we become adults, our bodies begin to develop movement restrictions and compensation patterns because of the habits, postures, and positions we get into (or avoid) on a daily basis. Most of the injuries that you often attribute to age, wear-and-tear, or overuse or simply a result of the body not moving in ways that are ideal. You can avoid expensive and painful intervention by teaching your body to move better, even after the damage is done.
- Teach your foot to be a foot again with short foot and toe strengthening exercises.
- Get your hips moving after a day of sitting with hip pinwheels, hip windmills, and cross legged stretch.
- Get out of your rounded shoulder posture by sitting and standing up tall with your shoulders back.
Improve your running technique
Heel striking, over-striding and a forward trunk lean cause unnecessary stress and strain. These increased forces contribute to many injuries, including foot and ankle injuries, knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain. Many times, if you decrease the forces on the body, you can decrease (or even resolve) your pain. I suggest three drills to start improving your running technique.
Dedicate time to your post-run recovery
We spend a fraction of our daily 24 hours training, with the rest of our time available to prep our bodies for our next run. What we do during that time matters. Try these three tips including proper nutrition and hydration, loosening up stiff joints and tight muscles, and keeping the body moving.
- Drink water throughout the day and replenishing electrolytes
- Use a firm ball to loosen up the muscles on the bottom of the foot and a massage gun to loosen up other muscles in the body
- Stand up to walk frequently during the day to keep the body loose
- Wear performance compression socks throughout the day to help promote blood flow and muscle recovery
Brianne is a doctor of physical therapy who owns Get Your Fix Physical Therapy. She is an obstacle course and running coach focused on teaching athletes to move better and train smarter. You can learn more about her performance training with her Race Prep Masterclass, Running Training for Obstacle Course Racers Program, The Highly Functional Podcast, and her instagram.