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Don’t let that annual holiday 5k sideline you this season!

Don’t let that annual holiday 5k sideline you this season!

The holiday season can be a great time to take advantage of cooler weather – and some time away from work – to participate in an annual Turkey Trot, Jingle Bell Run, or other holiday-themed 5K or fun run. Runs like these are a great way to join the running community in your area, support a worthy charitable cause, or even prepare for your first half marathon.

Whether you’ve just begun or you’re well into your training, there are a few common injuries you should watch for as you run:

● Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or “Runner’s Knee,” occurs when the kneecap doesn’t track correctly in the groove at the top of the thigh bone, irritating the cartilage under the kneecap.
● Achilles Tendinitis is the swelling caused by overstretching of the large tendon that runs down the back of the heel, known as the Achilles tendon.
● Plantar Fasciitis is the irritation and inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot, supporting your arch.
● Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) occurs when the iliotibial ligament that runs down the outside of your thigh becomes irritated when it rubs on the top of the femur every time your knee bends.
● Shin Splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome can lead to minute tears in the muscles that surround your tibia, or shin bone, causing pain down the sides of your calves.
Of course, running doesn’t have to come with pain or injury. Proper training can help you avoid many of those injuries before they occur. Here are a few tips:
Start with a good training plan.
The most effective way to prevent running injuries is to have a good plan for training. Jumping into running way too quickly instead of gradually increasing your training load over a prolonged period will significantly increase your chances of developing the conditions noted above, along with others.
Increase your running distance by no more than 10% per week.
When training, a good general rule of thumb is to not increase your distance more than 10% per week — and try to keep your heart rate at around 75% of your heart rate maximum.
Cross-train with resistance exercise.
One other way to prevent the above injuries is to cross-train with resistance exercise. Specifically, strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, lateral hip muscles, and core will significantly reduce your chance for injury.
Fuel your body.
A well-balanced diet consisting of energy rich, calorically dense foods along with a daily multivitamin will give your body the fuel it needs to train and prepare for race day.
Know when to take a break from training.
It’s normal to experience soreness after training — but this should not prevent you from running or working out. If you begin to experience focal pain – pain that’s focused in a particular area of your body – you should back off training until it resolves. If the pain does not resolve or quickly returns as soon as you resume training, you should seek medical care.
Bookend your training with a dedicated warm-up and cool-down.
Your warm-up should consist of light physical activity combined with dynamic stretching to prepare your body for your training session. The cool-down period should be another small session of light physical activity combined with static stretching to help loosen up your tight muscles that were just stressed.

Talk to a specialist first
The most common running injuries tend to happen when you train too hard and too fast, or as the result of biomechanics and gait issues. It’s important to remember that minor pain isn’t a signal to give up, it’s just a sign that you need to make adjustments. If you’re concerned about your injuries from running – or have questions about how to train best without injuring yourself – you may want to visit an orthopaedist.
About DOC Orthopaedics
Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have 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 keep your life in motion.

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