Get top tips from the experts on preventing running injuries in our Running QUICKGuide.
The running experts at Summit have brought together easy tips to prevent running injuries in this QUICKGuide.
Listen to your body
Listen for some key built-in warning signals: soreness, aches, or lingering pain … and take action. Eating healthy, taking rest days (or active recovery days) when needed, and getting good sleep are some helpful strategies to reduce injury rates. If you’ve just had a race day, take a day off for every mile raced. There are easy acronyms that should replace RICE after an acute soft tissue injury. They are PEACE and LOVE: P for protecting the injured area for the first few days, E for elevation above heart level, A for avoiding using anti-inflammatories for healing, C for compression, E for educate with advice from a Summit Orthopedics healthcare provider. Then after the initial injury, L for loading in a progressive manner, O for optimism for good outcomes, V for vascularization and blood flow to promote optimal healing, and E for exercise.
One of the most common causes of injury is doing too much, too soon, and too fast. Those with the highest risk of injury have limited or no running experience. Be gradual with the increases in your running distance and volume per week. Somewhere around the 10 percent increase per week (though not exact!) can be helpful to avoid an overuse injury from too much, too soon. Running less than 45 miles per week can be another helpful strategy. Use common sense, and listen to your body for warning signs.
Protect your shock absorbers
Your feet take on about two to three times your body weight. Before you pick a shoe to protect them, it’s important to know what shoes can and cannot do. Correctly fitted shoes (and orthotics, if necessary) can help compensate for imbalances, flat feet, high arches, or those with unstable ankles. They cannot correct injuries. Get fitted at a reputable retailer of running footwear, walk, and preferably test the shoes by running on an in-store treadmill. There is no one magic shoe that will work for every runner, so look for a shoe that is comfortable to you, and that allows you to run naturally and without compensating. Once you find a good shoe, you can’t keep it forever … change out your shoes if or when you start to notice pain or running form changes.
It’s all connected
For some runners, a low-grade pain that shows up in the knee can be traced back to a weakness in the hip. With a hip-strengthening program and strong core, the pain goes away. There can also be some faulty running mechanics that can lead to (or result from) an injury. A medical professional at Summit Orthopedics can help identify these things.
Your body needs variety to avoid overuse injury, a chance to reduce excessive loading to the same muscles, or at least use of the same muscle groups in different ways. Walking, elliptical, cycling, and swimming can be some good examples.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
More resources for you
While this guide provides the basics to prevent running injuries, we have a wealth of more in-depth information for runners.
- Check out our Running Topic Section with dozens of articles, videos, and more
- Get tips on How To Find The Right Running Shoe
- Read the article on How To Prevent Shin Splints
- Answer the question When Does Race Training Become Too Much Running?
Sam Olson, PT, DPT, OCS
By utilizing various evidence-based manual therapy and exercise techniques, I strive to get patients back to their prior level of function and active lifestyles.
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