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Prevention & Therapy

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Get Moving More

Exercises to Prevent Running Injuries

Heel Walking

Walk on your heels, toes pointed out. Start with 1 minute.

Zigzag Squat

Stand a few inches from the wall. Bend your knees toward the wall, return to upright, bend your knees to the left toward the wall. Feel the left foot roll out (supinate) and the right foot roll in (pronate). Repeat to the right. Start with 3 reps.

Single Leg Knee Reaches (A balance exercise)

Stand on your right foot about arm’s length from the wall. Bend left knee 90 degrees so it is parallel to the floor. Bring your left knee forward toward the wall. Bring it back. Bring it forward again but slightly to the left. Return to neutral, now reach your knee out to the right. Repeat 3 reps in each direction with both legs.

Dynamic Calf and ITB Stretch

Hold on to the wall at arm’s length. Stand on your right foot, left knee bent to 90 degrees. Lean forward like a typical calf stretch. Then lean to the left to cause pronation like initial stance in running. Then lean to the right while crossing the left knee to the right causing supination as in toe off. Repeat 3 reps in each direction with both legs.

Dynamic Hip Stretch

To feel a stretch on the outside of the involved hip, lift or hike the uninvolved hip above the standing hip. Repeat 3 reps.

Toe Curls

Stand and bend your toes under like trying to pick up a pencil. Alternate feet for 60 reps.

Get Your Kicks

Stand on one foot. Lift the other foot out to the side 10 reps. Then lift it forward 10 reps. Then lift it back 10 reps. Then lift it across your body in front of standing leg 10 reps. Repeat with the other leg. As 10 reps of all four planes gets easy, use resistive tubing to add challenge.

Reference: www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/tibialis-tendinitis.html

Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

Common Running Injuries

Plantar Fasciitis
Pain is located on the bottom of the foot underneath the heel, and is characterized by stiffness and pain with the first few steps, or after prolonged standing or walking. It is caused by irritation of the plantar fascia, which is a dense fibrous tissue, that runs from the underside of the heel to the front of the foot.

Achilles Tendonopathy
Pain is located on the back of the heel/ankle, and is characterized by sharp pain and stiffness in the morning, or after vigorous activity. It is caused by irritation of the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the heel.

Shin Splints
Pain is located in the front of the lower leg, and is aggravated by prolonged walking or running. It is typically an overuse or chronic injury. Low-impact conditioning and cross-training can help reduce the incidence of shin splints.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Pain is located on the outside of the knee, and is described as burning or tightness. Symptoms usually develop during the run and improve with rest. The IT band is a thick fibrous band of tissue, which runs down the outside of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. ITBS is caused by irritation of the ITB as it moves during flexion and extension of the knee.

Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome
Pain is located in the front of the knee, sometimes “underneath” the kneecap. There are multiple causes of PFPS, but it is typically related to improper tracking of the kneecap (patella), as it glides up and down during knee flexion and extension.

Tips to Prevent Injuries

Warm Up
Start with a warm up of 5 – 10 minutes, which can include a brisk walk or a slow jog.

Progress Slowly
Do not increase your speed or mileage too quickly. A good rule is to not progress your mileage more than 5% – 10 % per week.

Cross Train
Your body needs time to rest and recover. Plan on 3 – 4 quality training runs per week. Supplement quality runs with low-impact cross-training and a core strengthening program.

Cool Down
A 10 – 15 minute cool down after exercise is important. Cool down should include slow jogging or walking followed by a well-defined stretching program. Plan to stretch your calf (with both the knee straight and the knee bent), your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, IT band, and hip abductors.

Improve Running Form
Have your gait analyzed by a running specialist to identify form flaws and make corrections.

Physical Therapy can address a wide range of running and other sports injuries. If you experience any pain while running, ask your doctor to refer you to Physical Therapy.

Health & Fitness Tips

  1. Be realistic with your fitness goals, especially if you are a first –timer with a formal exercise program. Try to set reasonable and achievable goals. When in doubt, err on the conservative side.
  2. Keep track of your progress. Your motivation to exercise will be boosted when you chart and then see your improvements.
  3. Do not expect perfection. You will have bumps in the road during your fitness quest. Expect that you will get sick or too tired occasionally and be prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. You can do your best to avoid unnecessary injuries by warming up properly and progressing as you go.
  4. Make a commitment to exercise. Do everything that you can to remove barriers to exercise. Attempt to make your exercise routines as convenient as possible.
  5. Forget the past. Do not let previous bad experiences with exercise get in your way. This is a new beginning to a new and improved you.
  6. Reward yourself with other things than food. When you make the effort to exercise, indulge in something that you like…go to a movie for example.
  7. Do not compare yourself to others. You are trying to improve your quality of life...period. How or what others may do does not affect you.
  8. Enjoy your pursuits. There are many, many ways to “skin the cat” with respect to exercise. Try to pick activities that are appealing to you. For example, group activities work well for some. Walking with a pet may work for others.
  9. Develop a support mechanism. Enlist the help of your spouse, significant other, friends, co-workers, etc. Your “support group” should do just that…encourage and support you.
  10. Break it up into manageable components. Splitting your exercise session into two or three smaller sessions can be as beneficial as one long workout…they might be more manageable as well.