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Couch to 5K Injuries to Be Aware Of

Couch to 5K Injuries to Be Aware Of

The current pandemic has many of us going a bit stir crazy and turning to exercise for relief –either to improve mental and physical health or to get rid of a few extra pounds. If you’re planning to start running, or if you already have, it’s important to make sure you take the proper steps to avoid injuring yourself.

Even regular runners are prone to certain types of injury, but if you’re just starting a couch-to-5K or other beginning runners’ program, you may be particularly susceptible. Here are just a few of the things to watch for:

● Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral syndrome, refers to pain in the front of your knee or around your kneecap that’s a common overuse injury in runners.

● Achilles tendinitis refers to inflammation of the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel. It may happen as you start to increase mileage or the intensity of your running. Left untreated, Achilles tendinitis can increase your risk of a ruptured Achilles tendon.

● Your iliotibial band, commonly referred to as your IT band, is a long piece of connective tissue that runs from your outer hip to your knee and helps stabilize your knee when you’re walking or running. IT band syndrome is caused by repetitive friction of the IT band rubbing against your leg bone.

● Shin splints or tibial stress syndrome is a pain in the front or the inner parts of your lower legs along your shinbone, which can happen if you increase running volume too quickly, especially on hard surfaces. Left untreated, shin splints can sometimes develop into stress fractures.

● Hamstring injuries, more common among distance runners, come on slowly resulting from small tears in the fibers and connective tissue of the hamstring muscle.

● Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common foot injuries, involves the irritation or degeneration of the thick layer of tissue on the bottom of your foot. This layer of tissue acts as a spring when you’re walking or running, and increasing your running volume too quickly can put your fascia under increased stress.

Of course, stress fractures, ankle sprains and torn ligaments are less common – and far more serious – possible consequences of running. That’s why it’s so important to customize your own running program to take into account things like your current fitness level, your age, flexibility, and overall strength. And no matter where your starting point happens to be, there are some key steps you can take to help limit your chances of injury:

● Drink plenty of water before and after your run to ensure your body has the resources it needs to run and recover.
● Add strength training to your routine to build stronger muscles, improve your endurance, and reduce the likelihood of injury.
● Avoid overuse injuries such as pulled muscles, shin splints, and joint pain. Ease into long runs by choosing a program specifically developed for your fitness level.
● Warm up before a run to increase the blood flow to your muscles. This will help your muscles prepare for physical activity and help you avoid muscle pulls or strains.
Whether you’re a first-time runner, returning after a long break or a regular looking to improve performance, it’s important to pace yourself and work accordingly to avoid injuries. Working with a specialized practice like DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Decatur and Hartselle, you can take advantage of the expertise of ten experienced providers as part of our multidisciplinary musculoskeletal practice to help you evaluate and benchmark before you start, or help you work through potential injuries once you get started.

Since 1972, DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement, and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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