How can I prevent injuries if I am a runner?

There are exercises that all runners can do at home in just a few minutes each day to help prevent injuries and feel better on their runs. Many use body weight as resistance, improve proprioception (the perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself), and try to activate core muscles. Runners need good strength and endurance from the foot all the way up to proper posture and position of head and shoulders, so look for specific exercises for muscles in the foot, calf, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. You can search online for good instructional images and accompanying explanations.

Stretching should target these same muscles. There is research to support a correlation with calf tightness and increased risk of metatarsal stress fractures, and basic stretching goes a long way toward injury prevention. Every runner will feel tight in different muscles, so find where you usually feel tight, sore or restricted, and spend extra time loosening up these areas. Lastly, don’t forget the foam roller after your workout. This fantastic piece of equipment can be used for deep tissue work and freeing up restricted structures.

Dr. Kristofer J. Jones, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

If you are a runner, there are some very easy ways to prevent injuries and pain. Injuries from running are typically classified as overuse injuries. Following are some ways to prevent injuries from running:

  • Ensure that you have proper running shoes that accommodate the shape of your feet to provide proper support. These shoes should be periodically inspected for uneven wear along the sole and replaced when the wear becomes irregular or the shoe begins to lose the shape and fit to the foot.
  • Avoid running on hard surfaces such as concrete to decrease joint load.
  • Ensure that you have proper strength, flexibility, and running form to ensure your biomechanics are ideal. The muscles around the core, hip and knee are extremely important to avoid detrimental joint overload that can cause chronic injury and pain. Have a running analysis with a trained physical therapist to evaluate strength and form. Strengthen weak muscle areas that may be helpful to prevent injury.
Dr. Jaspal R. Singh, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist
The most common injuries in runners occur in the lower part of the body, including the ankles, knees and hips. Before running, always make sure your muscles are loose. Do stretches to loosen your muscles. Be sure to wear proper footwear. It’s also important to keep your hip muscles strong, especially the glutes (hip abductors). Doing these things can help prevent injury.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.