Training for an upcoming race of any length can be exciting as well as intimidating. While running injuries are common, they don't have to be. The Norton Sports Health training team is here to help you train and race safely to avoid injuries. Our team includes orthopaedic physicians specializing in sports medicine, athletic trainers and a running coach. Should an injury occur, we provide advanced care and design customized programs to meet your specific needs. These programs incorporate strength training, core stability, flexibility and conditioning to help you achieve optimal performance and fitness. Our goal is to prevent running injuries as well as get you back to running as soon as possible following an injury.
If you experience injuries or problems while training and would like to make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist, call (502) 629-1234 and our staff will work to get you in as soon as possible.
Safe training tips
Reduce your risk for injury by following these guidelines to maximize your safety.
Before you run
- Drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running so you are hydrated.
- Stretch for five minutes before beginning.
- Increase your speed slowly.
During your run
- In cool weather, you are less likely to get chilled if you run into the wind when you start running and run with the wind at the finish.
- Do not run at night. If you run at dusk or dawn, wear reflective material and stay in well-lit areas.
- Whenever possible, run on a clear, smooth, resilient, even and reasonably soft surface.
- Run with a partner when possible. If alone, carry identification.
- Avoid using headphones, especially if you are running on the street, so you can hear traffic and warning sounds
- Stop running if you are hurt; pushing through pain can make an injury worse, which will keep you from running for a long time.
After you run
- It's important to stretch after running to help prevent tight muscles and injuries.
- You can lose between 6 and 12 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid every 20 to 30 minutes along your route. Weigh yourself before and after a run. For every pound lost, drink 1 pint of fluid.
- Inspect your shoes after each run; if they have worn thin or are angled, purchase new shoes before your next run.
Preventing running injuries
Most running injuries are caused by recurring factors that runners can often prevent or avoid. Improper training is the most common source of injury, particularly inadequate warm up, rapid changes in mileage, a sudden increase in hill training and insufficient rest between training sessions.
Signs of a running injury
Signs that you may be injured or need to alter or stop your running:
- Dizziness or lightheaded feeling any time
- Headaches during or after running
- Inability to sleep
- Pain or discomfort while running
- Pain at rest
- Shortness of breath after little exertion (exercise asthma)
Common running injuries
Some of the most common running injuries are:
- Achilles tendinitis – an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that usually occurs either due to repetitive stress or from a runner pushing him/herself to do too much too fast
- Ankle sprains – occur when ligaments around the ankle are overstretched or torn, often because a runner did not pay attention to a change in terrain.
- Dizziness and nausea – caused by improper hydration; to prevent dehydration, drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and every 20 to 30 minutes along your route
- Muscle strains – small muscle tears that can occur from overexertion or poor flexibility
- Stress fractures – caused by overtraining, inadequate calcium in the body or by a basic biomechanical flaw in the runner's gait
- Shin splints – happen on the inside of the legs
Treatment for these injuries and conditions vary based on the extent of the injury. Minor cases usually can be treated with rest, ice and physical therapy. Your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and tenderness. Severe cases may require surgery. Norton Sports Health specialists focus on nonsurgical treatment before exploring surgical options.
Stretches and exercises
By increasing your flexibility you can improve your ability to not only run well but move around in general. You will have less muscle tension and your posture will likely improve. Stretching after running also reduces your risk for injury.
Remember to follow these guidelines:
- Always warm up before you stretch. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury.
- Stretch slowly and gently. Breathe into your stretch to avoid muscle tension.
- Do not bounce your stretches. Ballistic (bouncy) stretching can cause injury.
- Stretching should not hurt. If you feel pain, lessen the stretch, breathe deeply and relax into it.