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Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

Call us at 281-633-8600.  In this video recorded at Plex in Richmond, TX, Dr. J. Michael Bennett provides tips to prevent running injuries.  He talks about the need to warm up before running, about strength training for running, the importance of hydration, how you can tell if you have a problem with your footwear, and how properly-fitted orthotics can help prevent running injuries.  Dr. Bennett has also developed patient education information on shoulder injuriesknee injurieselbow injuriescarpal tunnel syndrome, and surgery information.

Here’s Dr. Bennett’s video.

This is a transcript of Dr. Bennett’s video.

Good afternoon. My name is Dr. J. Michael Bennett. I’m a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Today we’re talking about running injuries and actually, how to prevent running injuries. We figured we’d take this talk outside today and just stand in the middle of the Texas heat. They key here today is to give you a few tips on how to avoid those visits to the doctor’s office.

Warm Up & Stretching to Prevent Running Injuries

First off, if you are an avid runner, it’s important to warm up before your stretching routine. That being said, if you’re going to go out for a run that morning, it’s a good idea to maybe do a little jumping rope, or some box jumps, or even a little jogging in place to get the blood flowing and get the muscles a little bit more limber. Then, go into at least about a five to ten minute stretching routine, working all aspects of the body, shoulders, core, legs. You don’t want to leave anything out.

Strength Training to Prevent Running Injuries

Once you’re adequately limbered up and you’ve got a good stretch routine going, another thing that often runners don’t really necessarily pay attention to oftentimes is the strength aspect. I think that there should be a certain amount of strength training involved for anybody that is preparing for a competition or any avid runner. The biggest issue that we see in our offices is weakness, primarily in the core, back, and in the abductors which is the hip region in runners.

I think that’s just because of the misconception that people think that if they’re running they’re strengthening their legs. Well, they may be strengthening certain aspects of their body, but they’re not necessarily focusing on the core areas that are repetitively getting stressed during that running routine. So, having a good strengthening routine is key.

I would recommend a core strengthening program working on your abdominals as well as your lower back, in addition to an abductor strengthening program in the hip region. And, always throw in your quads and your hamstrings, because that does help decrease the stress load. Having stronger legs will help decompress some of the stress across that joint if you’re doing a lot of repetitive activities.

One way to determine if you have weak abductors in the hip is to stand in one position and see if you can actually use your core and your abductors to actually stabilize yourself. So, lift up one leg and just stand there with one leg. See if your abductors and your core are strong enough to stabilize yourself. That usually will give you somewhat of a sign or an indication of how much work you need to do to really build those abductors up.

Hydration to Prevent Running Injuries

The next thing I want to bring up is hydration. Particularly here in Texas, as you can see, the hot sun and you’re dealing with temperatures well above 90 degrees. If you’re doing a lot of running, depending on the time of day that you do your running, usually it’s better to run in the mornings or in the evenings when it’s cooler, but if you have to do it during the middle of the day just make sure you’re well hydrated. You’re losing a lot of water when you’re out there and you’re running and you’re sweating.

So, you want to make sure you replenish and replace all that water, because dehydration can cause problems not only with your muscles and joints, but it can also cause problems with your focus as well. You want to make sure that you’re very well hydrated and you can avoid a lot of accidents by just staying hydrated when you go out on your runs.

Proper Shoes & Orthotics to Prevent Running Injuries

The last thing I want to mention is the shoe. This really comes down to a lot of the running injuries that we see, is the type of shoewear that we see. In addition to the shoewear is also the foot of the runner. The first thing I do when I have a runner that comes into my office and has a complaint, I’ll have them take their shoes off and stand there, and I look at their feet. If their foot is completely flat and their arch collapses that’s basically called a pronated foot. If the arch is high and the foot almost rotates a little bit that’s called a supinated foot.

So, depending on whether or not the foot is pronated or supinated will determine where the stresses are going to go across the body. A lot of times depending on whether it’s collapsed or not collapsed you’ll have more knee pain, more hip pain, more back pain, more tibial stress pain. Sometimes you can even have a higher risk of stress fractures across the tibia because of overloading those bones and joints inappropriately because of the fact that arch is not balanced.

The first thing you may want to look at is your feet to make sure you don’t need some orthotics. One quick way to do this is to go to a specialty store where they sell running shoes or some sort of sports outlet where they can actually look at your gait, look at you walk, look at your foot, and say, “Well, this is the right shoe for you,” or “You need this type of orthotic.” Most of the time that will take care of it.

Sometimes the orthotics over the counter are just not enough. Some people have such a collapsed arch that they need specialty made orthotics. If that’s the case then go to your orthopedic surgeon or your podiatrist to actually get your foot looked at and have the specialty made or custom orthotics made.

Another thing that you can look at is take the bottom of your shoe, as an avid runner, and look at the bottom of the shoe. Look at the wear pattern on the bottom of the shoe. If the wear pattern is symmetric then you know you’ve got a nice stride. You know you’ve got a nice balance across your foot. If it is asymmetric and one side of the shoe is worn down more than the other side, then that’s going to give you a sign that you may be pronating or supinating your foot a little bit more so than you should be, and you’re going to need some sort of orthotic to help you balance out your foot. That, in this instance, will decrease your risk of injury.

Those are just a few tips to help you out to prevent running injuries and how to stay out of the doctor’s office. If you have any questions or issues please feel free to call my office at (281) 633-8600, or go to my website at or I appreciate you listening to us at another Whiteboard series today.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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