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Integrated Health: running and jogging injury prevention

Jeff Faucheux
Guest Contributor
Plaquemine Post South

Most running and jogging injuries are caused by recurring factors that runners and joggers can often prevent or avoid:

What causes running injuries?

There are four periods of time when runners are most vulnerable to injury:

--During the initial 4 to 6 months of running

--Upon returning to running after an injury

--When the quantity of running is increased (distance)

--When the quality of running is increased (speed)

Training errors are the most common source of injury, particularly lack of adequate stretching; rapid changes in mileage; an increase in hill training; interval training (going from slow speeds over long distances to faster over less ground); and insufficient rest between training sessions.

Running and Jogging Injuries

Runners should also keep in mind potential anatomic abnormalities:

--Hip disorders typically manifest themselves as groin pain. Back discomfort that radiates down the leg is cause for referral to a sports medicine specialist.

--The patella (kneecap) is a common site of overuse injuries that can benefit from a 20 minute ice massage, a program of stretching and strengthening of the hamstring and quadriceps muscles, and a short course of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery is rarely indicated.

--Ankle laxity can lead to frequent ankle sprains and pain. Beneficial treatment includes muscle strengthening to increase stability, shoe modification to alter gait, and change of a running surface. Foot problems in runners are related to foot.

How are running injuries treated?

The basic approach to treating running injuries includes rest or modification of activity to allow healing and reduction of inflammation. To avoid overuse injuries, or to allow for a safe return to running after a break, a runner should follow the 10 percent rule (limit the increase in weekly mileage or pace by 10% per week). Thus, if you are running 10 miles per week and want to increase your training regimen, run 11 miles the next week, and 12 miles the week after that. This program should be followed while flexibility, strength, and endurance are restored. When severe pain, swelling, loss of motion, and/or other alterations in running form are present, immediate medical treatment is advised (see reverse for specific injuries).

Cross-training can be extremely beneficial to the runner in times of recovery from injury or when starting out a running program. This may involve swimming, aqua jogging, stationary bike, or any other low impact activity that helps build endurance. Start with a higher percentage of low impact activities and then increase your mileage while decreasing the cross-training activity.

The goal of rehabilitation is to safely return the runner to the desired level of running. Remember, training errors constitute the most common cause of injuries. A well-planned program prevents injury while benefiting the athlete.

Prevention running/jogging injuries:

When selecting a running shoe, the athlete should look for a style that will fit comfortable and that will accommodate his or her particular foot anatomy. When a shoe’s mileage exceeds 500–600 miles, it should be replaced.

The ideal surface on which to run is flat, smooth, resilient, and reasonably soft. Avoid concrete or rough road surfaces. If possible, use community trails that have been developed specifically for jogging and running. Hills should be avoided at first because of the increased stress placed on the knee and ankle.

During warmer, humid weather, increase fluid intake; in cool weather, dress appropriately. It is often helpful to weigh yourself before and after running on a hot, humid day. One pint of water should be consumed for every pound of weight lost. Avoid running during extremely hot and cold temperatures or when the air pollution levels are high. When running at higher altitudes, the runner should gradually acclimate to the lower oxygen levels by slow, steady increases in speed and distance

Pre-participation Musculoskeletal Health Assessment can identified asymmetries and imbalances. Integrated Health provides a 3d imaging musculoskeletal assessment. The assessment tool is state of the art technology utilized by Professional Sports and Corporations for preventing and increasing performances. For more information on the assessment contact Jeff Faucheux LAT, ATC,CES at 225-933-1526.

Integrated Health is a health management solutions company that promotes musculoskeletal health via active and passive range of motion assessments. Benefits include injury prevention, improved performance, faster recovery, and feeling healthy. Jeff Faucheux LAT ATC CTPS CES specializes in Ergonomics in the Workplace. Brandon Albin, MHRD, ATC, director of musculoskeletal assessments, is a former Division 1 collegiate director of sports medicine who specializes in injury prevention and corrective exercise. www.integrated-health.com, 800-292-1617, Choices Family Medical Clinic.