7 Exercises On How To Avoid Running Injuries
what can you do to prevent running injuries

7 Exercises On How To Avoid Running Injuries

Running is arguably one of the best things any complete beginner can take up. While it comes with its share of benefits, it does come with its set of drawbacks. One major drawback in particular is the possibility of injuring yourself while running. Not to worry, injuries are not inevitable. They can only be prevented if you listen to your body and preparing it to be better adapted to your running style. This factors in the shoes you should wear and catching the aches and pains early enough before they become more serious. As you read on, we provide you some tips on how to avoid running injuries.

The following are a list of common injuries that can be the bane of any runner’s existence. You’ll be able to know how to avoid them and know what the symptoms of what you could be dealing with (if something happens). Let’s begin.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee happens when pain occurs near the kneecap. The pain can get worse if you’re running downhill or descending the stairs. This is caused by either an irritation of cartilage located under the kneecap or a strained tendon. Runner’s Knee is commonly linked to weak hip rotator muscles.

In order to prevent this painful injury, strengthen your outer hip muscles with exercises like clam-shells or side leg lifts. Lay on your side and with your knees bent, lift your top leg while keeping your heels together.

woman doing the clamshell exercise

If you end up dealing with a case of runner’s knee, be sure to ice the affected knee for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure you’re not running on consecutive days.

ITB Syndrome

ITB is short for the Iliotibial Band. This is pain that occurs outside either the hips, knees, or both. The ITB is a tendon that runs from the hip to the knee. When this becomes tight, it can create problems for the fluid sacs located on the hip and knee joints. This will cause these joints to swell up.

To prevent ITB syndrome, get a foam roller and roll out the side of your hips. This will break up any tissue adhesion that you may have. Throw in workouts such as hip raises to further prevent this injury.

foam rolling on the side of your hips

If you deal with this injury, this can throw your training regimen off course. In order to treat ITB syndrome, it is highly recommended to cut your mileage in half or taking a few weeks off to heal. Icing does aid in treatment as does low-impact activities like biking.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are very common among running injuries. This occurs when you feel pain inside and outside of your shins. You’ll usually feel this pain as you begin your run. Shin splints are caused by inflammation of the muscles or tendons located around your shinbone.

If you are a beginner level runner, you are the most prone to shin splints. Another way on how to avoid running injuries is, by slowly increasing your distance. If you are flat footed, this could increase your risk of shin splints. Consult with your doctor about the usage of orthotics.

runner slowly increasing its distance

You can treat shin splints by icing the affected area. You must also scale back or stop running until you are no longer in pain.

Achilles Tendonitis

This pain occurs along the back of the leg close to the heel. This is an inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. This tendon is the largest in your body, connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone. Tight calf muscles are usually the culprit of this type of injury.  You can use calf compression sleeves to help increase the circulation to your calf area.  The increased circulation helps foster recovery due to the increased blood flow.  

Outside of Calf Compression Sleeves you can perform a few exercises.  One such is the heel lift exercise as it can help avoid running injuries. To do this, raise your heels up using the balls of each foot and slowly lower down to a count of six. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each leg twice a day.

doing the heel lift exercise

If you’re dealing with this type of injury, it would be wise to substitute your running with low impact activities for a few weeks.

Plantar Fasciitis

Ever wondered what it’s like walking on glass? If not, you’re in luck. But the pain of plantar fasciitis is awfully close to it. This pain occurs at the bottom of your feet close to the heel. This is the last thing you want deal with getting out of bed (although doing that would be a chore dealing with this kind of pain).

Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation or irritation of the tissue connecting the heel and the forefoot known as the plantar fascia. This is the tissue that provides arch support. If you have either high or low arches, you are prone to plantar fasciitis.

One simple way on how to avoid running injuries, is that women should avoid wearing really high-heeled shoes as a precaution as this can shorten the calf muscle. Flip-flops are out of the question since that do not provide any arch support.  Alternatively you can use foot compression socks, or to just take a rest from running or walking long distances. 

woman trying to avoid wearing high heels

If you are dealing with plantar fasciitis, there are many remedies to prevent this injury. One is to freeze a water bottle and roll it using the bottom of your foot.

Hamstring Strain

Hamstring injuries are the most common in any kind of athletic activity. You hear about this type of injury all the time. If you feel any pain in the back of your upper leg, you’ll know that you’ve strained this muscle. This could be a slight tear or an overstretch of one or three muscles.

man doing the plank lift

This can be prevented with a strong core and hips. Exercises such as the plank lifts can help you ward off this type of injury. If you deal with this type of injury, the remedy is as simple as rest and ice.

Piriformis Syndrome

This injury occurs when the piriformis muscle, located deep within the glutes is pressed up against the sciatic nerve. If you feel any pain or numbness from your backside down to your legs, you might be suffering this injury. The pain gets worse if you were to climb the stairs or sit.

woman exercising to help hip abductors

One final tip on how to avoid running injuries, be sure to perform exercises that help your hip abductors. One such exercise is the side-lying leg lifts. To treat this type of injury, sit on the ankle of the affected leg crossed over the opposite thigh. Lean forward and hold for 15 seconds and repeat each side three to five times.