How to Prevent Running Injuries

The New York City Marathon is coming up! If you’re a runner in training, it’s important to remember the most common running injuries and how to prevent them.  

Runners Knee

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What is it?

Runner’s Knee is basically pain around the kneecap. There are several more specific conditions that fall under this umbrella term, but they’re all characterized by a dull aching pain caused by irritation of the soft tissues or lining of the knee. 

How do you prevent it?

To prevent runner’s knee, ease into exercise and gradually increase training – don’t run more than your body can handle.  Often we suggest starting with a cycle of 3:1 run/walk for a few sets. It’s also important to stretch and warm up beforehand, aim for at least five to ten minutes to increase your hip &  knee’s flexibility during your workout. And last but not least, while running make sure to use proper form by keeping your core tight and your knees soft.

Hamstring Strain

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What is it?

Your hamstring isn’t actually a string – it’s a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh that allow you to bend your leg at the knee. If you strain your hamstring, that means one or more of these muscles are overloaded or have started to tear. If you have this injury, you’ll feel pain in the back of the thigh or lower buttock when walking or straightening your leg. 

How to prevent it?

Hamstring strain is more likely to happen when you don’t warm up before exercising or your quads are tight as they pull your pelvis forward and tighten your hamstrings. Glutes and hamstrings work together – if you’re glutes are weak, hamstrings are more likely to be overloaded. Squats and donkey kicks are a good way to get your glutes into shape!

Shin Splints

What is it?

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Shin splints are caused by stress on the connective tissues that attach the muscle to your bone, and generally feels like pain along the shin bone on the front lower portion of your leg. They vary in severity – it could feel like a shooting pain or a dull ache. 

How to prevent it?

Shin splints are very common in new runners whose legs aren’t accustomed to the stress. Again, stretch, warmup, and work on overall body strength, more specifically the arch of the foot. It also helps to buy new running shoes that accommodate the specific needs of your feet, as well as running on softer surfaces like grass, dirt, and sand.