Newbie Runners, Take Care

Posted 05/10/2013 | By HealthCorps

If you’re competing in your first running race, you are at risk for an injury.  New runners have a 20% chance of getting injured.  What are the 3 most common injuries.

Runner’s knee occurs due to the constant bending and flexing of your knee joint, as you add miles to your running routine.  You typically experience a dull ache that gets worse after each run.  You can avoid it by making sure that your leg alignment is optimal, especially at the knee joint.  Work on strengthening your gluteal (butt) muscles and hip flexors, which help to keep your legs in proper alignment.  Proper alignment reduces stress on the knees, especially when you exercise.

Stress fractures can occur when you repetitively pound the ground.  It is more likely to occur when you run daily, and you don’t adequately warm up, cool down and allow recovery time between runs.  Over time, a vulnerable bone in your foot or leg can develop a very small break or crack and you will begin to experience pain when running.  Left untreated, the pain can become chronic and persistent, and the fracture can worsen.  Avoid stress fractures by slowly increasing the distance or duration of your runs, by no more than 10% each time.  Make sure to wear supportive footwear that fits well. Replace running shoes every 500 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first.

Tendonitis, which is an inflammation of a tendon, occurs with overuse.  It usually presents as pain or tightness of the tendon.  Runners often develop tendonitis in the heel or hamstringsAn exercise that can help you to avoid tendonitis in these areas is the dead-lift raise.  Stand with feet hip distance apart, with a weighted bar, barbell or free weights in your hands.  Slowly bend over at the waist while your legs remain straight, but not locked.  Continue to bend with the weights pulling you over, until the weight passes your knees.  Stop and slowly return to upright position.  Build up to one set of ten repetitions, and then add a second set.  Allow your head to naturally hang over, as you bend, so you don’t strain your neck.

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