Basic Injury Prevention for New Runners
Running long distances places tremendous demands on the muscles, joints and bones of the lower limb. Common running injuries include stress fractures, hamstring and achilles tendinopathy, knee pain (patelofemoral syndrome), plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains.
Running injuries are usually cumulative, (ie they build up over time) and are often associated with a rapid increase in training intensity, duration or frequency. Other factors may include inappropriate or old running shoes and insufficient stretching.
Distance running predominantly occurs in a straight line (Sagittal Plane) with little rotation or side bending when compared to other sports like football. This pattern of activity promotes strong tight hip flexors, knee extensors (quads) and plantar flexors (calves) with relatively weak hip abductors and hip extensors(gluteals).
Basic self maintenance for injury runners would therefore include these key basic points:
- Avoid rapid increases in training intensity, duration or frequency.
- Invest in a quality pair of running shoes (Beware the running shop guru who’s done a 2 day course and is now god’s gift to expensive anti-pronation marketing gimmickry!)
- Stretch the hip flexors, Knee extensors (quads), and plantar flexors (calves).
- Foam roll should be targeted at quadriceps, calves and IT bands
- Cross train to strengthen different muscle. Remember strength is your best insulator against injury