Wellness | Physical Therapist Gives Running Injury Prevention Tips
Thereâ€™s a difference between throbbing your-legs-are-tired pain, and sharp you-need-to-stop pain.
The throbbing pain is easier to manage than the sharp pain, said local physical therapist Jennifer Frontiero of Wind City Physical Therapy.
Running is hard on joints, and while there may be pain â€” mainly dull, tired pain â€” you need to be careful not to push the sharp, intolerable pains.
Most running injuries, Frontiero said, are to the hips, knees and ankles. Shin splints are also among the most common injuries.
Injuries can range from minor aches and pains that need a mild pain reliever, ice and rest, to major injuries that require a visit to the doctor or physical therapist.
There are some base guidelines to help prevent injury, Frontiero said. The first, and most important, is stretching.
Stretching not only helps pain from forming after workouts, but also can prevent more serious injuries later in your training program.
But, if you do feel more than a gentle ache or pain, there are some simple tips to help keep you out of the doctorâ€™s office and on the trails.
If you start to feel pain in your shins, hips, knees or ankles, donâ€™t keep running harder and longer.
Itâ€™s difficult, Frontiero said, to cut back on miles. But, in order to give your body time to recover, try to at least stay at the same number of miles until the pain subsides.
You may also want to change the running terrain and speed. Try to find flat surfaces that require less pounding down hills. If youâ€™ve been increasing your speed, slow it back down to a point where the pain lessens.
Cross-training can also be a good idea. Frontiero recommends running in water, both because it works similar muscle groups and because there is little to no impact to harm your joints.
Most importantly, donâ€™t run yourself to the point where the pain is unbearable. Itâ€™s OK to stop and walk, and OK to reduce your miles or slow down. Running the correct number of miles is good, but staying healthy and injury-free is better.