RUNNERS: DON'T GET SIDELINED WITH INJURIES
With all the pounding on your legs and feet, running injuries can happen easily if you don’t take proper precautions and pay attention to muscle imbalances, weakness, overtraining, and footwear for example. The most common injuries from running are due to improper or worn out footwear and muscle weaknesses. Below we outline some of the most common issues.
A sudden spike in training volume and intensity can sometimes result in shin pain or shin splints. Your lower legs absorb the initial impact when running and if your legs aren’t strong enough to handle increased speed or distance, injury can occur. It’s is important to develop a solid base and never increase mileage or speed too quickly.
WEAK HIP MUSCLES
Weakness in the muscles around your hips are a common cause of injury. Weak hips can cause IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), piriformis issues, sciatica, and many other common running injuries. Here are just a couple of examples of how weak hips can alter your gait cycle and put you at risk for injury:
Runners with restricted mobility in the front of the hips (tight quads/psoas) will often show a forward drop of the pelvis which causes an increase in the curve of the lower back. This causes a compromised stride length, reduced propulsion and an overall inhibition of the running gait cycle.
Runners who have weak abductor muscles can’t maintain proper height of the opposite side of the pelvis (to raise foot and transfer weight to other leg). This causes the pelvis to drop downward so the runner has to bend their leg more than usual to compensate for the lack of lift.
If you have weakness in your hip abductors, adductors, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius a gradual conditioning program for these muscles will help correct gait cycle issues and reduce your chances of injuries from compensory movements.
WEAK FOOT MUSCLES
Tight and weakened muscles in the foot result in the heel taking on an excessive load.
TIGHT LEG MUSCLES
Tight lower legs put a lot of strain on the achilles tendon, and over time injury can occur – especialy if there is a quick increase in volume and/or intensity.
A question we’re often asked is “what makes the best running shoe and what are the best running shoes?” Your foot type is an important factor. Does your foot roll out? Does your foot roll in? Is it C-shaped or is it straight? There are some universal features of shoes however we can apply to running shoes that will help you get the best fit for your foot.
A deep heel counter – This is the base that cups your heel on the back of the shoe. The deeper and firm this is, the more support you get for your foot.
A solid shock-absorbing mid-sole – If the mid-sole shouldn’t is too hard, it causes more shock to travel up your leg. If it’s too soft, you won’t get any support.
A firm, slip-resistant out-sole – If it’s too soft it will wear quickly with a regular running schedule.
Don’t use other sports shoes for running – Running shoes have a higher pitch than ball and court sports shoe. As you raise your heel up it takes some of the strain of your calf and foot.
In addition to these universal features, it’s important to know your foot type and whether you roll in or out. This will help you narrow down your footwear selection to ensure you get the perfect running shoe that will help you perform better and avoid common injuries. If you are a regular runner, it’s a good idea to add an orthotic to your running shoe to help correct gait issues. The best place to start is to have a gait analysis done – at Active Care Podiatry we use video gait analysis to correctly diagnose foot issues and if needed we can customize a foot orthotic to help you stay injury free out on the trails.