Einstein Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Minn Saing is the Medical Director for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. He offers these tips to keep you in top form:
Runners are most vulnerable to injury at certain times during their running careers:
- Upon Initial Running – First 4-6 months
- When returning to running after injury
- When running longer distances
- When running faster
Be Aware of Fixable Problems
Most running injuries are caused by recurrent issues that are often identifiable and preventable by the runner making some small changes.
Avoid Training Errors
These are the most common source of injury. Here are some common errors that many of us commit:
- Lack of adequate pre-running stretching
- Rapid changes in mileage
- Increase in hill training
- Interval training
- Insufficient rest between training sessions
Choose the Right Shoes
Comfort is key. Consider the width of the toebox to accommodate your individual anatomy. Replace your shoe after 600 miles of use.
Consider the Running Surface
The ideal surface should be flat, resilient and relatively soft. Avoid Concrete or rough roads, use community running trails, and avoid hills when starting out to decrease the stress on knees and ankles.
Watch the Weather
Understand the demands the come with variations in the weather. Consider these general principles:
- In warm and humid conditions, increase fluid intake. (Weigh before and after and consume 0.5 litres/lbs lost.)
- Wear the proper attire in cold weather
- Avoid extreme hot/cold
- Check air pollution levels
- At higher altitudes, allow time for acclimatization
Back – Most back pain is non surgical and will resolve with conservative management. Pain radiating down the leg should be evaluated by a physician
Hip – Most hip disorders show up as groin pain.
Knee – Most overuse knee injuries are patella related
Ankle – Recurrent ankle sprains could be related to ankle laxity
Foot – Problems in runners are related to foot type
We treat the majority of running injuries with conservative management. This will include a combination of therapies, including:
Treating Runner Injuries
- Protection – Bracing/Splints
- Ice to help with swelling and inflammation
The addition of oral OTC or Rx antiflammatories may also be used. After a period of relative rest, the runner will be introduced back to running in an interval fashion.
If a runner experiences severe pain, swelling, loss of motion, or significant ambulatory dysfunction, the runner should seek consultation with a Sports Medicine Specialist.