There is no secret to the fact that running injury free is one of the keys to improving your running. The development of foot and lower body injuries can significantly impact on your participation and thus performance in running activities.
As podiatrists we see a wide range of clients with running related injuries, from adults training to run their first marathon through to active kids playing school sports. Most common running related injuries, such as achilles tendinopathy, shin and knee pain, tend to occur gradually over time and can almost always be prevented or minimised with the right advice.
How can you prevent running injuries?
So how can you help prevent running related injuries yourself? Here’s a quick list of some of the key points to consider in your running program:
- Wear the right shoe – Visit a footwear retailer that specialises in running to find the shoe that suits your foot and the activity that you are doing (Try The Running Company, Jogger’s World or The Athlete’s Foot). Often these retailers will be able to video you running in the shoe to check that your foot functions well in it and compare this to other shoes you are considering.
- Build your mileage slowly – Keep a record of the distances/times that you run both per session and per week and try to avoid increasing your mileage more that 10% of the previous week. Using a GPS running watch, Fitness Tracker (eg Fitbit) or a phone APP such as Strava or Runkeeper are great ways to track and record your runs. Another simple alternative is to simply record the time you run with a stopwatch and avoid increasing your weekly running time more than 10%.
- Vary your sessions – Rather than running the same distance on the same surface all the time try to mix up these variables. Running on different surfaces, up and down hills and at differing intensities can help avoid some of repetitive wear and tear on muscle and tendon that can lead to overuse injuries. If your unsure how to structure you training engage a running coach.
- Back off if you feel a niggle – Resist the temptation to push on with your set program when you start feeling pain. The most problematic running injuries tend to occur when the injury was ignored initially. Check in with your physio or podiatrist once you identify an issue so you can work through the best line of management. A running physio or podiatrist generally will work with you to try to keep you moving towards your running goals, avoiding telling you to stop running unless absolutely necessary to allow for repair to occur.
- Get your running mechanics checked – One of the main causes of running related injuries is abnormalities in your running mechanics. A podiatrist can analyse your running mechanics and recommend various changes that can help to reduce your risk of injury.
We hope these simple tips can help you keep running injury free! If you do have a running injury you would like to discuss contact us on (08) 824 8666 to book a time with a podiatrist at one of our Queenstown Practice.