Did you know that up to 70% of running injuries are a result of training errors? Usually, this is due to a rapid increase in mileage and/or intensity, and the body is not prepped for it. At Sage Physical Therapy we offer running physical therapy for all stages of one’s running journey. If you are new to running, a walk-jog progression is a great way to slowly ramp up your mileage while also allowing your body to adapt to the specific demands placed on it. When beginning a new running routine or training program, minimizing injury risk is a common goal for the novice and expert runner. Let’s talk how footwear, surfaces, and cross training can reduce those aches and pains!
The local running store in your area can be extremely helpful in determining the right style of shoe for your foot type. Runners with higher arches may lean more towards a cushioned shoe, versus a runner who has flat feet may prefer a shoe with more substantial arch support. Those who overpronate may want more support inside the shoe in the form of an orthotic. Recent research shows that the single most determining factor for reducing injury risk in runners is comfort. So, while it is important to have a supportive shoe for your foot type, the shoes must feel good too! Comfort can go a long way in keeping those toes happy 😊
Here in Seattle, we live in a city with lots (and lots) of elevation change. This can add another layer of complexity to your training program. Muscles, tendons, and soft tissue must build up not only to mileage but also to changes in incline and decline. This is something to keep in mind when planning your weekly routes. For example, a lot of uphill running early in your run could contribute to heel pain because of the increased stress to the Achilles tendon. A lot of downhill running could contribute to knee pain at the patellar tendon or IT band if the quad is not controlling the downward motion well. Building up your body’s tolerance to those many hills out there is just as important as adding the miles, so planning some flatter runs is a great way to balance out your training plan.
As much as we want it to, running does not do the complete job of strengthening muscles to be able to run, and especially run pain-free. A good flexibility and strength program can help ensure your body continues to meet your running wants and needs. Muscles to focus on for strength are outer hips, core, and calves. The most common running injuries are found within the knee and ankle/foot complex. Targeting the hips, core, and calves for strength help to support these joints. A good dynamic warmup, as well a cool down stretching routine, are also important for maintenance and recovery. Dynamic warmups should consist of stretching through movement, not static hold stretches. Cool downs should include foam rolling (trigger point balls, sticks, and massage guns work well too!) to help work out tight muscles followed by slow, static stretches to regain mobility and tissue length. It is a good idea to continue foam rolling and stretching into the next day as delayed onset muscle soreness can be worse the day after your run!
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will keep you running happy and healthy. Running physical therapy at Sage includes a full assessment of strength, mobility, body mechanics, and running gait analysis. Give Sage Physical Therapy a call today!