Before You Run: 5 Helpful Hints To Prevent Injury

The human foot is truly remarkable as it contains a combination of 112 ligaments, 33 joints, 26 bones and a vast network of nerves, tendons and blood vessels that work hard when you run. Before considering to go out jogging or to take up running, it is very important to make sure that your feet are in good working order because the balance, support, and propulsion of a running body depends on the foot.

Before starting to run, there are some things you can do before you hit the pavement to ensure your running experience will be an enjoyable one. Before getting into the helpful hints, what needs to be said is to hydrate before you run or jog – this is very important.

First of all, are your running shoes appropriate? Your choice of footwear needs to be determined based on your foot structure, your weight, how your feet function and where you run. If you are flat footed when you run, or if you run on the balls of the feet, then an orthotic device should be considered. The shoes should provide shock absorption.

Next, proper foot hygiene needs to be practiced. Be sure your feet are kept dry with appropriate socks and powdered. This is especially important if you have blisters. Getting into the habit of powdering will help to keep athletes foot at bay.

Thirdly, start off slow. Jog for two minutes, then walk fast for five minutes then jog for two minutes, and repeat. If your muscles are feeling stiff, then walk. As the days go by, increase the jogging time 30 to 60 seconds at a time until you are jogging for five, fast walking for five. Keep increasing this and diminish the walking time until you are comfortable with just jogging or running. Be sure to make adjustments for weather conditions; the hotter and more humid it gets, lessen your running time.

The fourth hint is a big one – stretch! Before starting any exercise program and this includes running or jogging, proper stretching is important. When the muscles are properly warmed up then the strain on tendons, joints and muscles is significantly reduced. Walking for 5-10 minutes before stretching is what many joggers and runners do first, and then they stretch for 5-10 minutes. It’s important to remember that stretching is not pulling or bouncing.

Three recommended stretches are:

  • Wall push-ups. Stretch one leg at a time by standing a metre away from the wall. Rear leg needs to be straight with the front leg bent as the hands touch the wall. Heels on the ground at all times. Hold the stretch for twenty seconds, and then bend the back leg and hold for twenty seconds, switch legs and repeat three times.
  • Stretch the hamstring. Straighten the right leg, place it, with the knee locked, on the curb or other item that is the same height. Squeeze your quadrieps muscle (front thigh) and point your ankle and toes up towards yourself. Hold for twenty seconds. Switch sides and repeat three times.
  • Stretching the lower back. Lie down on a firm surface. Bring both knees to your chest and hold for twenty seconds. Repeat this five times.

Last but not least, there is one more thing to consider before taking up jogging or running. Your feet are very important, so visiting a health professional before starting an exercise program may save you a lot of aggravation down the road. A health professional will examine your feet and identify any potential problems. This preventative measure can save your feet from unwarranted injuries.

Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has health professionals on staff who are fully qualified to assess your feet and provide custom orthotics if needed. Conveniently located in Richmond Hill, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has a walk-in clinic at 10144 Yonge Street, just north of Major MacKenzie Drive. Call 905-918-0419 for more information.

March 10, 2014

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