Protect Your Stride: Tips for Running Safely
Early adoption of a safe running routine can protect athletes from injuries like runner’s knee, patellar tendinopathy, and Achilles tendinopathy. Below are four ways to start putting that routine together.
Focus on Proper Form
From posture and stride to strength and flexibility, there are multiple factors at play when it comes to a runner’s form. A physician or physical therapist can analyze a how a runner strikes the ground, how their joints flex, and how this can affect their risk of injury. This allows them to recommend actionable steps to improve range of motion, strength, balance, etc.
Find the Right Footwear
There’s an endless selection of running shoes available for a reason: Runners are not all built the same, and they do not all run the same. Certain shoes are designed to correct supination; others are designed to correct pronation. Furthermore, some footwear is made for specific activities, such as trail running, distance running, or racing. An athlete’s form and activity of choice should determine whether they opt for a lightweight, flexible shoe or a heavily cushioned one.
Run a New Route
The weight-bearing repetition of running is highly stressful for the lower body joints. However, running a new route may help in mitigating the onset of repetitive strain injuries. This is because unfamiliar or unique terrain encourages a slower pace and change of gait, which changes the amount of impact on knee and ankle joints. Athletes looking to modify their routine may opt to run on a trail instead of a treadmill or an indoor track rather than the sidewalk.
Stretch and Strength Train
Practicing the same activity can help athletes enhance their performance, but so too can diversifying their training. Incorporating low-impact activities into an exercise routine gives reprieve to the hips, knees, and ankles — all while strengthening the muscles around them. Likewise, stretching regularly or adopting a yoga practice improves balance and flexibility that carries over into running form.
Run Safely With OASA
While there are a lot of steps to take toward a joint-friendly, safe running routine, there are also risk factors that can’t be avoided so easily. Genetics, gender, and biomechanics can all play a part in an athlete’s risk of injury. If you’re struggling with running-related injuries or chronic pain — or if you’re concerned with injury prevention — consult the sports medicine specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine.
Our team consists of physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, physical therapy assistants, and occupational therapy assistants. In our therapy department, we analyze and rehabilitate athletes using the latest orthopaedic technology, like the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®. Schedule an appointment today by filling out our online request form or contacting the office by phone at 904-825-0540.
Kurtis Hort, MD
Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a member of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Dr. Hort specializes in reconstructive procedures of the foot and ankle.