Beat running injuries and leave pain behind
The running season is upon us! Whether you are a seasoned runner doing the full 26.2 miles, or a ‘newbie’ to the sport targeting your first 5 or 10k, Apex Clinic has some great tips for staying pain-free and preventing injury.
Are you ready to run?
There are a few basic bits of equipment you will need before embarking on a new running schedule. If your trusty trainers date back a decade and need dusting off, you may need to invest in a new pair. A specialist running shop will provide advice on the latest trainer technology. If you have any specific foot problems our podiatrists can advise you on the best trainers for your specific foot-type and can provide you with insoles (orthoses) if necessary.
Good layering of clothing is very important. Keeping warm and stripping off layers like an onion will reduce the chance of pulling muscles, as warm muscles are less likely to be strained than cold ones. Research has shown that warming up before exercise is more beneficial than stretching. We suggest a warm-up of fast walking for 4-5 minutes before you begin running, or gentle jogging on the spot. A few stretches of your quads, hamstrings and calves may be beneficial immediately after the run to maintain the flexibility of your leg muscles.
New to running?
A great way to break yourself into running is by using a walking/running programme, doing 2 minutes of walking then 2 minutes of running in intervals for 10 to 15 minutes on the flat, and then gradually over time, increasing the amount of running in that regime. This should be done 2-3 times weekly and not on consecutive days as too much too soon will result in injury.
Which running surface is best?
For more experienced runners the research on cartilage in knees and hips suggests that running on roads/pavements should be limited ideally to 3 times a week. It is much kinder to your lower limb joints to alternate your road running with grass, bark or treadmill running as the shock absorption is much greater on these surfaces. Aquajogging (running with an aqua-jogging belt in a pool) is another excellent way of breaking up road running and unloading your joints. By reducing the frequency of running on roads you will almost definitely prolong your running life by keeping your knees, hips and lower back healthy.
This is one of the most common running (or walking) ailments that often stops the person from being able to continue exercising. The term “shin splints” can be misleading and really only means pain in the shins when running or walking. At Apex Clinic we provide a full one hour neural musculoskeletal assessment of shin pain to find out exactly what is causing it. If you have had no success in clearing shin pain with treatment so far, then it is likely that something has been missed in your diagnosis. We have high success rates for clearing shin pain when other treatments have failed.
Recurrent Running Injuries
If you have a recurrent injury, or a pain which stops you running and you have rested for a few weeks but it still hasn’t gone away, then it’s time to get treatment. Like our cars, our bodies are very mechanical in terms of musculoskeletal injuries. If your car malfunctions, you wouldn’t park it in the garage for a few weeks or months and hope it gets better. Long periods of resting injuries are more likely to reinforce the problem and make them difficult to clear. If you have already had treatment for a pain or and it still hasn’t cleared, we recommend you seek a second opinion. In the majority of these cases, something has been missed in the diagnosis. Common problems such as hamstring pain, calf pain, foot pain and plantarfasciitis can nearly always be cleared with the correct diagnosis and resulting treatment.
For anyone running twice weekly or more, sports massage is recommended approximately once monthly. This breaks up scar tissue in the leg muscles which, if left to build up, will increase the risk of pulling a muscle. Prevention is better than cure!