Whether you’re an avid runner or you’re a beginner, you should know what steps you can take to remain injury-free while running. Almost half of all regular runners sustain injuries each year. It’s crucial that before you go out for your next run, you’re informed on the best ways to take preventive measures for remaining injury-free.
What are the most common causes of injury while running?
- Muscle imbalance — In many cases, muscle imbalances can negatively affect running form and put runners at increased risk of developing an injury. Imbalances in muscle strength can lead to overcompensation in other areas of the body. Some runners who lack strength in one area will develop overuse injuries when running as a result of overcompensating or other injuries related to strain and inflammation. For example, if you’re experiencing lower back pain, this could be due to a muscle imbalance in your abdominal muscles that need strengthening.
- Overuse injury — One of the most common causes of injury while running is overuse. Some examples of injuries that stem from overuse include IT band syndrome, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
- Stress fracture — Stress fractures are small cracks that occur in bone, most often around the shins or feet. These small cracks occur because the body has not yet become acclimated to the amount of activity it is being required to do. The pain from stress fractures can feel like that of shin splints, another common runner’s injury.
What steps can you take to be able to run on a regular basis and be injury-free?
- If there is an existing weakness, strengthen the areas around it — Have you been injured in the past? Have you developed some discomfort or pain that just won’t seem to go away while you’re running? One of the ways you can deal with this issue is to begin a strengthening program to improve the areas around your injury or point of weakness. What frequently happens is that runners with weak areas begin to compensate for this weakness in other ways, which can lead to an overuse injury. If you know of an old injury or an area that could use improvement, it’s a good idea to support the areas around it to protect yourself from further issues.
- Invest in the right shoes — We can’t stress the importance of this tip enough. The right shoes can make a world of difference. Pick a shoe designed for running with shock absorption and supportive features for your feet. If you run for too long in the wrong kind of shoes, you risk exacerbating any existing injuries or creating new ones. The right kind of orthopedic support can bring you closer to injury-free running experiences.
- Make sure to give yourself rest days — We know, rest days can be frustrating because it feels like you should be back out there and moving, like usual. But rest days are essential for your body to allow it time to repair damaged tissue. On the plus side, your rest days don’t have to be spent sitting on the couch at home. Many people choose something called “active recovery,” where they take a small break from running and substitute it with something more low impact to work on other areas of their physical fitness. Some examples of active recovery include taking a day for strength training or doing some Pilates or maybe even a cycling class. Rest days with active recovery are a good strategy for remaining injury-free.
- Consult with a virtual physical therapist — You don’t need to be injured to meet with a physical therapist. Virtual physical therapists can be great resources for those who are looking to develop a plan for running regularly, with minimal risk of injury. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or someone who plans to run every day, your key to injury-free running is to have the right prevention methods.
Each of these methods for injury-free running is most effective as part of a more extensively developed injury prevention plan. By contacting a physical therapist, you can receive assistance with personalized at-home care that can be carried out from the comfort of your own home. The simplest way to create a detailed injury prevention plan for running is to virtually meet with a physical therapist.
If you aren’t sure how virtual physical therapy platforms can serve you specifically, consider the benefits of performing the injury prevention tips listed above. Now, think about the benefits of these injury prevention tips and many more when they are placed into an all-encompassing care plan designed to fit your physical health needs. If you’re still not convinced, you’d likely benefit from speaking with a physical therapist about how your individual needs can be specifically met.
Why choose Agile Virtual Physical Therapy?
Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can offer more than 400 licensed clinicians. We’re committed to providing effective PT care through our telehealth platform. At Agile Virtual PT, we provide services in 45 U.S. states and free virtual screenings. For more information including our many partnerships, read here.
At Agile Virtual Physical Therapy, we have experienced professionals who are qualified to create a personalized plan with you containing at-home physical therapy exercises customized for your age and fitness level.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.