By Stephen Karam, PT, DPT
Now that New Years has come and gone, many of you are sticking with your resolutions of staying active. Some of you have begun training for the next marathon or maybe your first marathon coming up this spring or summer. If you have been running a long time you know that aches and pains throughout your legs and feet are a part of the process, but they do not necessarily have to be if you train smart and listen to your body.
There are a variety of running injuries that may afflict runners. These include patellofemoral syndrome (runners knee), iliotibial band syndrome, tibialis tendonitis also known as shin splints and may vary location depending on which tendon, achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. All of these injuries may be caused by a source of either chronic movement dysfunction or an acute event while running such as surface change, ankle rolling/twisting, inappropriate shoewear for your foot, and vast change in mileage or pace. The good news is that most if not all of these injuries associated with running is preventable. Most of these injuries can be alleviated by having gait analysis performed and functional strength assessments in order to address any hip and core strength deficits or asymmetries within your mechanics. Here are some tips for starting and maintaining an injury free running program.
- Stretch lightly before running using a dynamic warm-up series that helps warm your muscles up in a manner that is similar to the exercise.
- Do not initiate a program running more than you are capable of, consider your pace, your environment and your surface. Ten miles on a treadmill feels a lot different than 10 miles on the road.
- Do not wear old running shoes or shoes that are not made for running. Contact your local KORT Physical Therapist to make sure that your shoe is appropriate for your foot. Buying an expensive shoe does not mean it is the best for you, it must be appropriate for the shape of your foot and your individual running mechanics.
- Do not ignore any running pain. Please address the pain immediately so that it does not become a chronic pain or a real injury. You are guaranteed not to finish your marathon training or finish with the PR you were looking for.
- Strengthening your hips and core can greatly reduce the likelihood of you sustaining a preventable running injury. A strong center/core allows for improved mechanics down the movement chain into your legs and feet.
If you are interested in beginning a running program or have already started one, feel free to contact your local KORT Physical Therapy Clinic to have your shoes, feet, strength, and mechanics assessed and addressed. This will ensure that you are running at your best and running happy!
Image from: www. thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/5k-races/
KORT Chevy Chase Clinic Director, Stephen Karam PT, DPT, earned his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Kentucky after completing a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). He specializes in manual therapy with a strong emphasis in orthopedics and sports medicine. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, working out, music and football. For more information go www.kort.com.