Starting Off on the Right Foot

By Dubuque Physical Therapy Team

April 7, 2021

 

Written by Jeremy Jordan, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS

Living in the Midwest often presents challenges for the “fair weather” runners. As spring/summer approaches many individuals have an increased desire to begin returning to a more active lifestyle, which oftentimes includes running. After a long Iowa winter, it is important to prepare your body to return to higher impact activities. As Physical Therapists, it is common for our profession to see an increase in running related injuries in the spring and summer. These injuries are often related to acute muscle strains or overuse injuries that can be prevented with a few simple tips.

HOW TO PREVENT INJURY

Warm-Up

Warming up prior to running or exercise can be very effective in preventing injuries and improving performance. A simple 3-5 min walk prior to running helps to increase heart rate and increase blood flow to your muscles to help you get into a running rhythm faster.

 

Hydration

Maintaining an appropriate level of hydration is important for your body to function normally. Drinking water helps to regulate your body temperature and improve muscle function. Pre and Post running hydration will help you improve performance and recover faster.

Recovery

Stretching and foam rolling are a couple of commonly used techniques when discussing recovery of function following running. Static stretching post running, when your muscles are warm and pliable, has been shown to help improve muscle length. Foam rolling post running has been shown to assist with improving range of motion and decreasing myofascial restrictions following running. These techniques help with reduction of post running soreness and decrease recovery time.

Running Mechanics

Running with proper body mechanics plays a major part in regards to injury prevention. Understanding and practicing proper running mechanics will help you become a more efficient runner and assist with preventing overuse injuries related to abnormal str

ess on muscles/joints. If you want to learn more about running mechanics, check out our Running Series Brochure!

BE PROACTIVE

Understand When Soreness is OK

As a Physical Therapist, I often speak with my clients about the importance of knowing the difference between soreness and pain. Muscle soreness is an important component to improving muscular strength and function and overall progression, but without proper recovery this soreness could lead to pain or injury. Most injuries can be prevented with a few simple measures.

Whether you are an ultra-marathoner or a “fair weather” runner, all runners could benefit from improving running mechanics. We have many great Physical Therapists available to assist with evaluating running mechanics and improving overall technique/running efficiency.

A healthy runner is a happy runner.