January 12, 2024

Tips to prevent a running injury

Not being able to run due to an injury can be extremely frustrating. That is why I want to share 5 tips from my personal experience as a runner and my work experience as a physio.

“Help, I have a running injury”.

5 tips to prevent an injury.

It's almost the end of the summer vacation and you know it: the running events are coming up. Super fun to train for a competition. Lots of outdoor sports!

In our physical practice, however, I see quite a few runners who are less happy, because not being able to run due to an injury can be extremely frustrating. That is why I want to share 5 tips from my personal experience as a runner and my work experience as a physio.

I often notice that things go wrong at the beginning of the build-up or just at the end of the running schedule. Enthusiasm usually causes overload. “It went really well and I just did a little more or a little harder than expected”... In itself, there is nothing bad about it. Only when you pick up the schedule after a few rest days and just continue as before, does an injury often occur. After all, you can conditionally withstand a tough workout, but your body is not yet optimally prepared for the repetitive shock load.

Tip 1: take “running rest” and don't start again until you're pain-free during the day. Your body has to get used to the shock load again, so start slowly. For example, with extensive duration intervals. If this goes well, you will resume the schedule.

If not, you can try walking on unpaved, even ground.

Tip 2: Variation

If the injury takes a little longer, vary with another sport. If you have pain during running training and it will not go away alone; find an alternative sport where you do not strain the injury but maintain your fitness. Variety is not only useful, but also fun!

Tip 3: Warm up and cool down.

Really everyone knows that. However, most runners put on their running shoes, close the door behind them and start training. If I'm in a hurry, I do this too, against my better judgment. Breathe in, exhale and start the workout relaxed... with (10 minutes) of warm-up. This way, you prepare your body for the upcoming load and you automatically check how your body reacts. “What does the calf feel like? A little stiffer than normal?” Then it's smart to take it into account a little bit.

Tip 4: Do yoga or stretching when you get home, as the last part of the cooling down. I really enjoy doing it. You are still warm and supple from running and notice that you are actually still quite agile.

Tip 5: “Attitude, rhythm, relaxation”.

Always check these items with yourself while walking. Make yourself tall, walk around 180 paces per minute, and stay relaxed. This ensures that you keep walking lightly and naturally. Research shows that it works preventively.

Many experienced runners come to our practice immediately after 1 to 2 rest days if they still feel the injury during the day. So nice and fast, because this way you prevent the running injury from becoming chronic and losing extra time. My last tip for now is: have your injury or starting discomfort checked quickly by a professional. Curious about what I do exactly? : I always look at the schedule, running technique with slow motion image analysis (if possible) and the footwear.

I also manually check the most important joints and then the overall balance through stability and muscle function tests. All running-specific, just like the exercises you're taught. So you're already busy running a bit while practicing and you can then make the transition to running more quickly.

And just like competitive athletes, our top players, we are going to work with the sports physio. From exercising in our gym to running track, trail or road. Our team of experts can help you throughout the process. But hopefully, with these 5 tips, you will prevent a (long-term) injury.

I would love it if I can help runners with these tips. I would love to read your comments. In my next blog, I'll delve deeper into the runner's knee: “I have pain on the outside of the knee after running”.

Sporting greetings,

Joep Kamphuis

USC Physical Therapy

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