Preventing running injuries – Part 2

Continiuing on from part 1. The biggested and as much as 60% of running injuries is thought to be due to training errors

Training errors

The most common being a sudden increase in training or excessive mileage. Experience also plays a role with experienced runners reporting more foot injuries compared to inexperienced runners reporting more knee and hamstring injuries. Individual training programmes are highly recommended to prevent injury as every runner is different and will respond differently to any given programme or exercise.

Injury preventative techniques:

  • Strength exercises is an absolute necessity to reduce or address any imbalance in muscle strength. They should ideally be done with 15/20 repetitions in one or two sets and at least two or three times per week. Examples of strength exercises:
    • Prone core stabilisation
    • Single leg balance drills
    • Lunges
  • Stretching should be part of any exercise programme with warm up stretching (often referred to as dynamic stretching) before and a more rigorous stretch and hold (static) stretching afterwards. A static stretch pose should be held from 30 seconds up to a minute.
  • A very effective method of self-massage is a foam roller and should ideally be done for no more than a minute at a time and before doing stretches.
  • Picking the correct footwear is critical. If the runner has high arches or a more ridged foot then shoes that provide extra cushioning whereas runners with flat feet ad that overpronate should aim for motion control shoes. Running shoes should also be replaced every 400 to 500 miles as loss of support and integrity can also be the cause of injuries.
  • Sports massage should again also be part of any physical exercise programme and would be essential for the runner. There is a number of aspects that sports massage and soft tissue release can have a beneficial effects on:
    • Enhancing performance: Muscle tightness can cause problems with lack of strength, reduced range of movement and poor circulation causing inhibition which can all have an impact on training and performance.
    • Preventing injury: Soft tissue injuries, muscle strain can all be caused by tightness in muscles, however when this becomes chronic the issues can become more severe, such as inflammation in muscles and connective tissues, and have a greater impact on the body resulting in:
      • Back and shoulder problems
      • ITB syndrome
      • Shin splints
      • Achilles tendinopathy
      • Plantar fasciitis.

Faster rehabilitation: Used in conjunction with sports therapy and medical treatment deep tissue massage and assisted stretching can be employed by the sports massage therapist after the injury has healed. Scar tissue that developed during the healing process can be broken down to improved range of motion and further pain reduction.

Understanding, awareness and education

Remember running injuries are not only common but there are a wide-ranging set of factors that can contribute to the onset of injuries. Just by knowing the causes you can potentially prevent a significant portion of injuries.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind in the prevention of injuries

Part 1 | 2