Prevention of running injuries – 4 Rules for Happy Running

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It’s running season again with HBF Run for a Reason just passed and many events ahead of us in the coming months. Here are some quick and easy tips on how to avoid nasty injuries and run happy and pain free.

Footwear

I’m constantly asked ‘What is the best shoe brand?’ The answer is there is often a right and wrong shoe for your feet from every brand. There are variations between brands in sizing, widths, cushioning and midsole material but there is usually one for you within that brand.  Knowing your foot type can help and get the right shoes for the right feet. Foot type refers to width, shape and if you’re a pronator (low arch) a supinators (high arch) or neutral.  If you don’t know, consult a podiatrist or reputable shoe store to find out. The right shoes can prevent a lot of foot and knee injuries.

Warm up and stretch

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of stretching and distance running. I am still a firm believer in the effectiveness in stretching in injury prevention and management. Dynamic stretches that are more active appear to be more beneficial than static or sitting stretches. I see foot pathologies every day that are actually caused by tight posterior leg muscles, particularly the hamstrings and calves. This commonly results from our jobs sitting or high heeled shoes in women. It is also beneficial to have a good warm up and cool down program that involves time loosen up muscles and keep them loose post exercises.

Blisters

They are small and temporary but they can ruin your run and day very quickly! Good quality mixed fibre socks, well fitting and sized runners, reduction of sweating or hydration of dry skin are the keys to not getting blisters. They are caused by excessive shearing force which is usually link to the skin being caught and rubbed over a bony prominence in the foot. Sweating will cause this so it’s important to use powders to reduce it. Likewise and areas of dry skin or very prominent bony parts need to made more slippery with Vaseline or bodyglide or by wearing two pairs of think socks. Toe socks are a great way to reduce friction between toes.

Core and gluteals

You cannot underestimate the level of forces going through your joints and muscles when running. The repetitive nature of running makes it very tough on certain lower limb structures. The risk of chronic overuse injures is much greater than high impact, contact sports. If you want to avoid leg injuries it is crucial to have a strong core and gluteal muscles to reduce the impact of running and evenly distribute work on the soft tissue and joints.

Dr Ben Morrell – Podiatrist

Prime Podiatry

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