Injury-free strides

Running – one of the purest forms of human movement – forms the basis of many sporting and athletic pursuits. It can, however, also lead to a number of injuries if not approached correctly. Ballito physio, Lianca Dookran, shares some thoughts.

Runners, assemble!
Whether you are training for a marathon or have just found your niche, joining a running club can help you attain your goals. There are a number of different running groups that cater for different levels of runners, from beginners to experts. Running clubs offer motivation and socialisation, as well as coaching tips to streamline technique and prevent injury.

Fix your feet
A good starting point for preventing injury is investing in the correct shoes for your foot type – neutral, pronated, supinated, flat or narrow. The main purpose of a running shoe is to protect the ankle (and therefore the knee and hip joints) from impact and stress during training sessions, by allowing the foot to move naturally and preventing muscle imbalances. Due to hard impact forces, running shoes tend to wear and tear over time. It is recommended that runners change their shoes after a mileage of 500km to 800km.

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Mileage check
Too much, too soon can be a reason for injury. Muscles, ligaments and tendons are under varying degrees of stress during a running session. It is best, therefore, to acclimate these structures by progressing your running volume at a gradual rate. The most common recommendation for mileage increase is approximately ten percent a week. Once you have established a solid base mileage, then you can start addressing other components of your running technique.

Cross-training
Strength training is essential for reducing injury risk by rectifying muscle imbalances and thereby improving running efficacy and performance. Focus on developing key muscle groups that maintain posture and correct biomechanics. Core strengthening and exercises that target pelvic stability are also beneficial. People who only run are more prone to overuse injuries, compared to those who combine running with other complementary exercises.

Quality recovery
Many runners put a great deal of thought into their running regime, but few put the same amount of thought into their recovery. Recovery is giving your body the time to adapt and recuperate from training loads.

Listen to the signs
Most running injuries don’t blindside you, they have signals – soreness, aches and pain. It can be tempting to ignore these minor symptoms, but the results of disregarding the signs lead to time off running. It’s important for runners to be aware of warning signs, including: sudden localised pain, swelling, numbness/pins and needles and areas tender to the touch.

About Lianca
Lianca Dookran Physiotherapy, a sports-focused practice, recently celebrated ten years of service. She and her team endeavour to continue treating their clients with the utmost care. Book for an assessment or if you suspect a running injury.

Details: Lianca Dookran Physiotherapy: 13 San Hall Park Kirsty Close, www.physioballito.co.za

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