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How to Prevent Running Injuries

Peter Guay, D.O.

peter-guay-symposium.jpgJULY 2014 – Every athlete is different, but there are tips that I recommend on preventing injury while running.

Stay hydrated
Hydration is essential for preventing injury and avoiding heat related illness.
Take water breaks. The World Cup implemented its first ever-mandatory water break during the Brazil games this year. I suggest you follow suit!

Slowly increase the distance you are running
Some people run too far, too fast, and too soon. Know yourself and make a running plan that takes into account your current level of fitness.

Warm up and cool down before and after runs
It’s very important to warm up, especially before a race. Warm ups help to flush out lactic acid build-up in muscles and can prevent muscle soreness.

Wear appropriate running shoes, and use orthotics if recommended
Abnormal foot biomechanics can cause injury by putting excessive stress on the foot and ankle. Factors such as heel strike, degree of pronation, and foot arch all make up your foot biomechanics. Select a shoe that is appropriate for your foot. Orthotic inserts can sometimes help with biomechanic variation. A doctor can evaluate you and make recommendations on orthotic use or you can try them out on your own.

Daily stretching can help improve performance and prevent injuries
Stretching should be done after you warm up and after you finish running
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or runner's knee can sometimes be attributed to tight hamstrings or weak quadriceps muscles. Stretching can help alleviate this.

Listen to your body and know the signs of a potential running injury
Be aware of signs that you’re injured. These can include: pain or discomfort while running, pain from your legs, hips or knees at rest, and limping or stiffness during, or after running.
If you think you’re injured, stop running immediately, and make an appointment with a doctor. The sooner an injury is diagnosed and a treatment plan is created, the faster your recovery will be. Pushing through pain can make the problem worse, which will only increase your recovery time, and could worsen the injury.

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Maine Medical Partners is a department of Maine Medical Center