Run Free: 7 Physiotherapy Tips to Help Runners Prevent Injuries

Running is a strenuous activity. It is most people’s exercise of choice, especially when looking to lose weight or stay fit. Whether you run to stay fit or lose weight; or perhaps you are a professional runner, there is a temptation to push yourself a little too far. When this happens, injuries invariably occur as your hips, feet, legs, knees and your back absorb the gruelling punishment.

There are, however, physiotherapy solutions that can treat, or prevent, running injuries that could interfere with your running routine.

1. Always Pace Yourself

Some of the most common running injuries that affect the legs, feet, and knees are mainly as a result of attempting to run too fast, too far, and too soon. Whatever your reason for running, it is important to gradually pace yourself and slowly increase both the speed and distance in order to prevent burnout and consequent injuries. Among the most common injuries is knee pain, which accounts for more than half of all knee complaints among runners in Canada.

Another common condition among runners is heel pain, which is caused by Achilles tendinitis. Overrunning or running on a hard uneven surface can also cause shin splints. If you train too hard too frequently, you will most likely experience a shin splint.

2. Take Breaks

Not everyone should engage in daily rigorous training. Stay within your endurance limit or skill level. Pushing yourself too hard, too frequently, without taking breaks, could actually end up hurting you.

3. Replace Your Running Shoes Often

You should replace your running shoes every 300 miles or thereabouts. Old shoes may not support your body properly and could end up hurting you.

4. Obey Your Body

If your body is screaming for you to stop, by all means, listen to it. If you insist on running while experiencing excruciating pain, you are not doing yourself any favours. Slow down or take a break to give your body time to heal before you hit the tracks again.

5. Cross or Weight Train

It is important that you engage in endurance training to build your muscles, endurance and balance, all of which are essential for smoother running.

6. Increase Distance Gradually

Avoid drastic speed increments. Ideally, you should add not more than ten percent of distance every week. For instance, if you run 12 miles this week, you should run 13.2 miles next week. Always avoid overdoing it no matter how strong you feel.

7. Seek Physiotherapy

To run effectively and stay in good running shape, make regular physiotherapy appointments with your physiotherapist. Sessions with a physiotherapist can help treat common injuries incurred during your weekly runs. Besides treating your running injuries, a physiotherapist should be able to recommend appropriate stretching exercises before and after runs. Massage therapy is also highly recommended to ease joint and muscle pain, correct imbalances, and improve flexibility. If you are a professional runner, make sure that your physiotherapist is a member of your coaching and healthcare team.

Running is one of the most effective exercise routines for staying healthy. Besides, professional runners have to train constantly to remain in competitive shape. Whatever your reasons for running, it is important to understand that your body is not an inexhaustible machine. You will need to make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard, too fast, and too far. You should also make sure that you have the right footwear and avoid running on uneven surfaces if you can. The constant pounding on the ground by your feet exerts a lot of pressure on your body. It is therefore important that you regularly visit a physiotherapist who will help you ease the aches in your body and facilitate the recovery of strained muscles and joints.

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