Injury Prevention and Management For Runners

As a runner, you’re bound to come across some form of lower body injury from time to time, whether it’s a chronic injury that accumulates over time or an acute injury such as a sprained ankle or pulled muscle. Whatever the injury, there are ways you can prepare your body to minimise the chances of injury and set yourself up for a swift recovery if you are unlucky enough to get an injury from running. We touched on this topic in our video “Injury management and prevention for runner” with Chris Taylor from The Running Domain. Chris mentions how injuries and training regimes are very common topics when catching up with fellow runners, so here’s some info you can take to your next runners coffee date.

INJURY PREVENTION

As mentioned in our video core strength and stability plays a vital role in prevention of injury. Having a strong core will give you a solid base when running. Think of your core as a platform for your legs and arms to push off from. If that platform is weak in unstable you’ll lose strength and power in your legs and hips as you run which over time can cause some biomechanical issues leaving some muscles over worked while other aren’t pulling their weight. If your core is strong and that “platform” is solid and stable your legs and hips will be biomechanically sound without leaking strength in your stride.

Another key in injury prevention is maintaining joint range and muscle tightness. If you’re running a lot of Kilometres per week you’re bound to get tight legs and hips. Keeping on top of this is pivotal in reducing injuries as tight muscles will decrease range of motion and productivity in your legs, leading to faults in your running technique. Good news is – this is easy to maintain and there are lots of different ways you can keep yourself supple.

Things like:
Yoga, Stretch therapy, Massage, Foam rolling regularly, using the spikey ball (I know it hurts but it’s worth it).
If you can set aside some time for some of these gems you’ll benefit greatly.

Here are some common chronic injuries that often occur in runners:

> ITB Syndrome
> Patella tendonitis
> Pes anserine pain (medial knee)
> Muscle strains
> Planter fasciitis
> Achillies tendonitis
> Stress fractures

Rehabilitation and recovery from these injuries will differ depending on the injury and severity, so while reading just bare in mind that your physio will give you your own injury specific exercises and precautions.

The Bridge With Resistance Band- Great for Glute strength.

Lead with a pelvic tilt and press the heels into the ground to drive the hips up

Single Leg Squat With Resistance Band – Great for glute strength, balance and stability.

Weight in the heel, make sure the knee is in line with the foot as you come done.

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Spikey Ball Glute Release

Roll the spikey ball through the glutes lookinhg for sore areas. Once found, hold your position until the tenderness subsides and repeat throughout the glutes.

Spikey Ball TFL Release

A hard one most miss! Lay on th on your side. Feel for the top of the hip bone. Place the spikey ball just underneath into the fleshy area then roll slightly forwards. ( Top hip bone shifts forward)

Injury Maintenance – Staying Fit Without Aggravating Your Injury

INJURY MAINTENANCE – STAYING FIT WITHOUT AGGRAVATING YOUR INJURY

Sometimes injuries are un avoidable. If you become injured, it’s important to think about what you can do that won’t aggravate or worsen your injury. If you’ve had an injury in the past and have had to sit on the sidelines for a period of time, you may recall the difficulty in getting your form and conditioning back when you returned to your sport. So while you’re recovering, there are things you can do to minimalize the struggle when coming back from injury. Do some resistance exercises in the gym that will use the same or similar muscles that are used when running such as squats, lunges, single leg squats and deadlifts, bridging, planking, thrusters etc. Just keep in mind that if it causes pain or aggravates the injury you will need to stop. If you need a less strenuous form of exercises try some exercises in the pool. Things like leg swings, under water running, using a kickboard for a few laps can challenge your muscles while decreasing the impact that you feel when running. It’s best to do some form of cardio work to keep your fitness up – we all know cardio fitness can be quite a struggle if you’ve spent a few weeks off the track! Some alternatives to running can include cycling, boxing, swimming, aqua aerobics, and rowing machine just to name a few. Once again just keep your injury in mind and don’t do any exercises that aggravates it.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

There are a lot of similarities when it comes to injury maintenance and injury prevention, the general principles are the same – keep your muscles supple and your core strong. The more you keep on top of these aspects of your fitness the less likely you are to get injuries. If you do get injured make sure you do your best to maintain strength in your muscles and flexibility in your joints as well as doing your injury specific rehab. So set yourself up for success and develop a good prehab and strength and conditioning routine and reap the benefits without the injury setbacks.