How to Prevent Common Running Injuries

How to Prevent Common Running Injuries

Whether you’re a seasoned runner who’s explored every running trail in Arlington, Virginia, or getting ready to race your first 5K race in Washington D.C., all runners should stay vigilant when it comes to injury prevention. 

Our team of providers knows just how frustrating it is when a sports injury spoils your training and leaves you sidelined. That’s why we’ve created this guide to shed light on common running injury prevention tips.

1. Choose the right shoes and socks

Your running shoes aren’t just a fashion accessory. They are a runner’s best equipment, providing cushioning and support as you log mile after mile. The right pair of running shoes support your arch, whether a low, high, or natural arch. Good running shoes also help reduce some of the strain on your joints. On the flip side, running in worn-out shoes can lead to foot pain, increased risk of ankle sprains, lower back pain, runner’s knee, and plantar fasciitis. 

In general, replace running shoes after 300 - 500 miles. 

Once you’ve invested in good running shoes, you also need high-quality socks. Blister-resistant socks can help prevent blisters, while wool socks (yes, even in the summer!) can help wick away moisture and reduce your risk of athlete's foot. 

2. Pump iron

Believe it or not, strength training can help reduce common running injuries. Your muscles help absorb some of the impact of running, so the more lean muscle mass you have, the more shock your muscles can absorb. 

Runners should aim to strength train 2-3 times each week. Try adding planks, Russian twists, reverse lunges, and squats into your routine. Single-leg deadlifts can also help improve your balance and reduce injuries from loss of balance. 

3. Warm-up your muscles before every run

Warming up your muscles helps prevent injuries 一 especially muscle tears 一 by activating your muscles, increasing the range of motion in your joints, and increasing your cardiac output. Pre-run warm-ups can include dynamic stretches, jumping jacks, walking lunges, toe touches, brisk walking, and slow jogging. 

4. Fuel up and recover

Your body needs fuel and hydration to perform well, and starting a run without the right nutrients can increase your fatigue and increase the risk of injury. Be sure to:

After a long run, you may find that soaking in Epsom salt helps ease aches and pains.

5. Watch your miles

Overuse injuries are one of the most common types of sports injuries, and that’s no exception here. It’s easy to get carried away with a training program, but adding too many miles too quickly can increase your risk of injuries like shin splints. Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week. 

What to do if you have a running injury

Even with the best prevention, injuries aren’t always avoidable. Common running injuries include shin splints, ankle sprains, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, piriformis syndrome, and hamstring injuries. Although it’s not fun to pause one of your favorite activities, it’s crucial to seek medical care for injuries and rest when needed. Running on an injury can backfire and increase the time it takes for your injury to heal. 

As sports medicine specialists, we take sports injuries seriously, and we understand the delicate balance between taking the time to heal and getting back into running as soon as possible. Book an appointment in our Arlington, Virginia, or Washington D.C office to learn how we can help you with your running injury. 

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