RUNNING INJURY PREVENTION: THE BEST MEDICINE
Tid Bits of Info
- 85% of all recreational runners will suffer a running-related injury during their running career.
- During a run, the amount of force that occurs when the foot hits the ground can be as much as 7x the runner’s body weight.
- Strength training should be part of every runner’s exercise routine.
- Mid and forefoot “strikers” tend to experience fewer lower extremity injuries.
- Seek the advice and treatment from a Physical therapist if you sustain a running injury or you want a program to prevent them.
Running injuries are not just for professionals. It has been reported that 85% of all recreational runners will suffer at least one running-related injury (RRI) during their running career. Injury prevention is key, and specific exercise routines have been very successful at preventing these RRIs from occurring in most recreational runners. Unfortunately, many runners follow no prevention program. A recent study was performed to assess why these runners don’t participate in an injury prevention program.
The main reason to participate in an injury prevention program is because a runner has suffered an RRI in the past. Too many recreational runners claim that they simply do not know what to do. Healthcare professionals should commit to distributing this type of information to the general public to assist in reducing RRIs.
Research indicates that males prefer to have information distributed to them via social media so they can “learn at their own pace.” Women tend to want a more personal approach to gathering this type of information, and most would prefer to be taught by a trainer or some type of healthcare professionals. Possibly so they can ask questions and be 100% perfectly clear of the message that is being delivered by the information source.
Prevention exercise programs should include aspects of strength training, stretching, running technique/form, proper training volume, and type of training. Individuals that hope to run for exercise must be sure to prepare their core and lower extremities for the constant pounding that occurs during the activity.
It has been reported that upon ground contact during a run the foot and lower extremity might have to support as much as 7x the runner’s body weight. Adequate stretching can make a person more comfortable during their exercise session. Stretching by itself has never been linked statistically to injury prevention, but when runners feel less restriction in their movement, they are more likely to move in a manner that is more consistent with the natural motion of their joints. Some individuals would benefit from a running assessment and help with personal form. It has been proven that the maximum contact force that occurs in a “heel striker” is more detrimental than that of a “mid or forefoot striker.” Adapting and changing running form/technique is not easy to do and can take the better part of one year to do it. Committing to this change might prevent an RRI. Lastly, the program should help the runner adjust their training program. Running is very “catabolic” (breaks tissue down) due to its repetitive nature of movement. Changing the amount and speed of the training runs can help to prevent the RRI that can occur due to the overuse of certain tissues.
Many runners believe that the shoe that they wear can help to prevent their RRI. Recent studies indicate that this might be far from the truth. Running shoes are strongly marketed to provide a specific preventive measure but many of these have never been proven clinically. It is very hard to “control” the foot and ankle motion when the “foot hits the ground” during a training run. Many studies have been performed on barefoot runners or mid and forefoot strikers and the amount of RRIs occur significantly less frequently than a running shoe shod “heel striker.”
If you are a recreational runner, and you do not perform an injury prevention exercise program you should seek out the advice of a Physical Therapist who specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. These licensed healthcare professionals are well educated in the prevention of injuries. You do not need a doctor’s prescription to be evaluated and treated by a Physical Therapist.
Recreational runners get hurt a lot! Many of these injuries can be avoided and prevented if they perform the correct preventative exercise routine. Prevention is the best medicine because seeking help after an injury occurs is never pleasant. Don’t be forced to “sit out” and take time off from your running exercise program and get involved in an injury prevention program.