Running is a common exercise and activity for many people. The human body is built for endurance, and running is a great way to improve cardiovascular health. However, improper form and lack of preparation can put undue stress on your joints, increasing your chances of injury. Trauma can also develop if your body doesn’t heal immediately, leading to severe injuries.
By practicing the following tips from orthopedic experts, you can minimize your injury risk and improve your running.
Choose a Good Running Shoe
Your shoes are arguably the most crucial equipment you will need for running, as your feet make contact with the ground thousands of times when you run. Each impact transmits mechanical forces throughout your entire body. Without proper protection, you may develop tendonitis and other overuse injuries. In addition, the wrong shoe can make you more vulnerable to sprains and strains.
The proper running shoes can help cushion the impact, provide correct ergonomics, and protect your feet from trauma. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to choose appropriate shoes, given the wide range of available options.
Your pair of shoes must perform well in three areas: providing cushioning, maintaining stability, and facilitating motion control. Different categories of shoes are appropriate for different gaits and levels of physical activity. Consult with your physician about gait analysis. This is a running test that can help pinpoint potential problems with your strides, and the results can help you choose the appropriate shoes.
When buying shoes, always check the midsole to see if it provides the correct amount of firmness for your needs. Check the overall size and shape of the shoe to see if it fits well. There should also be room for your toes to wiggle freely. To get accurate results, know your shoe size beforehand and wear socks during the fitting.
Fix Your Exercise Routine
Running is an intensive activity that requires preparation. Before you go for a run, make sure to stretch and do warm-up exercises. Your stretching routine should include both static and dynamic movements. Start with mild activities such as brisk walking to slowly raise your heart rate. After the run, perform a similar cool-down routine to allow your body to come to equilibrium gradually.
A good warm-up routine helps your body prepare for rigorous activities. It stimulates your muscles and connective tissues, enabling them to perform better, and reduces the risk of sprains. In the same token, cool-down exercises help prepare your body for rest and recovery.
Running stimulates many muscles, but it mainly focuses on your lower body. For optimal health, have an exercise routine that complements your running activities. Introducing variety to your workouts can help stimulate your muscles in different ways and fix any muscular imbalances to ensure that your strength and mobility translate better to your daily activities.
Consider adding a strength training program, such as weightlifting, to your exercise routine. The additional strength gains can improve your performance during your runs. At the same time, the increased endurance from running means that you progress more with your strength training. Strength training also protects joints from sprains and other injuries by strengthening the musculoskeletal system.
Exercise doesn’t create a strong body overnight. It takes time for your body to remodel itself. Typically, it takes several weeks for performance improvements to become noticeable; therefore, do not expect immediate results.
Gradual progression is necessary for any exercise routine. Proceeding too quickly with more intense runs can be dangerous. Injuries can occur in joints that handle much of the workload, such as a knee ligament injury.
To stay safe, stick to a program that allows you to perform longer and harder runs over weeks. Gradual progression will permit your body to grow stronger without increasing the risk of injuries.
Understand Sprains and Other Injuries
Accidents can happen even to the most cautious runners. It pays to understand the risk of common injuries, as well as their signs and symptoms, so you can detect them quickly and seek treatment.
The most common injuries associated with running are sprains, which indicate damage to connective tissues. A common condition associated with running due to overuse is plantar fasciitis, in which the tough band of the ligament in your foot becomes inflamed. Another example is Achilles tendonitis, where damage occurs in the Achilles tendon. Runners’ knee and iliotibial band syndrome are other conditions that involve connective tissues.
Orthopedic Care in San Antonio
Proper running involves developing a comprehensive exercise plan and preventing common running injuries. Using good running shoes highly benefits runners. Many injuries and conditions improve with adequate rest and gentle exercises. Early consultation and treatment can prevent them from worsening, helping you get back on your feet quicker.
The Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine provides patient-centered care for many orthopedic sports conditions. Our facility in San Antonio, Texas, provides top-notch rehabilitative and surgical care. Learn more by calling us at (210) 692-7400 or by setting up an appointment.