By: Dr. Mark Ricketts
Summer is coming up on us, and the heat doesn't mean you should totally give up on running. You can keep running outside (with the proper attire and preparation) or find a treadmill or indoor track. But whether you are indoor or outdoor - running injuries can still occur.
10 Common Running Injuries:
1) Runner's Knee - a sore kneecap from overuse.
2) Stress fractures - overuse causing tiny hairline fractures in feet or around ankles.
3) Shin splints - is a muscle and tendon issue, that if not treated, can lead to stress fractures.
4) Achilles tendonitis - overuse of the Achilles tendon
5) Muscle pulls - real common, you know what they are
6) Ankle sprains - torn/partially torn tendons and ligaments around the ankle
7) Plantar fasciitis - inflamed tissue on the sole of your foot
8) IT band syndrome - inflammation of a tissue that runs from your knee to your hip
9) Blisters - You know
10) Temperature-related injuries (dehydration)
Preventing these injuries:
1) Listen to your body. Don't assume that every ache and pain is "just part of it", because it's not. If an ache or pain goes beyond the first mile, then something's probably wrong, and your body is telling you that something is wrong. Don't try to run through it.
2) Warm up and stretch. The older you get, this is more and more important. As adults, we spend too much time behind desks, behind the wheel - and our muscles sit stagnant for hours. Stretch them out before exercise.
3) Cross-train. Don't just run - spend some time with light weights, pushups, and sit-ups. For one thing, it leads to a little more creativity in your workout routine so you won't become bored, but it also works out different muscle groups, giving you a balance, and not overworking one muscle group endlessly.
4) Wear the proper clothing. Light material and - importantly - wear reflective running shorts/shoes so that vehicles can see you.
5) Make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for your feet. This is a big deal. Not all feet are equal in their shape and this can cause us to distribute our body weight in our feet differently from person to person. When getting a pair of running/workout shoes - talk to someone that knows what they are talking about. The big box stores aren't specialized in this - go to the Trak Shak, the New Balance shoe store, etc.
6) Staying hydrated. I preach it over and over. Because it's important.
7) Running on the road versus softer grass or dirt - softer is usually better on your body, as the shock of impact is lessened. But overuse is still overuse. While it could delay the onset of an injury, if you keep pushing your body, an injury becomes more likely.
Sounds kind of funny, but be sure to do the healthy things while you are being healthy. Exercise smart. Don't overdo it to the point where the exercise becomes detrimental to your body. Not only could you hurt yourself, but you may end up having a negative attitude towards exercise, which could be a negative in the long run.
So be smart. If you are looking to start exercise, consult your doctor and make sure you are getting off on the right foot.
Dr. Mark Ricketts can be heard weekly as the "Doc On JOX" Wednesdays on WJOX 94.5 FM at 2:30p. For more information and insight on health and wellness, visit his website, www.MarkRickettsMD.com. He currently practices medicine in Hoover, and construction on his new facility at the Vestavia City Center is currently ongoing. The new office is expected to open in late May.