Follow these guidelines to stop injuries before they happen.
Getting injured stinks. Not only does it prevent you from getting out the door and doing what you love every day, but staying healthy for an extended period of time is the single most important factor to improving your running.
Interview any runner, elite or recreational, about what led to their most recent breakthrough and I can guarantee you the answer can be traced back to staying injury-free. Sure, they might credit their new coach, a change in diet, or a variety of other factors. However, these changes all resulted in the same outcome: healthy, consistent training.
Since staying healthy is so important, what aspects of your training are most likely to result in injury? More importantly, how can you avoid these costly mistakes?
Trying To Make Up For Missed Or Failed Workouts
While it’s perfectly OK to rearrange and adjust a training schedule to ensure you accomplish the most important runs, simply cramming in missed workouts or attempting them again is the quickest route to injury.
Repeating A Failed Workout
Asking to run a workout again after a poor showing is one of the most frequent requests I receive as a coach. Honestly, I empathize with why runners are so eager to run a workout again. It doesn’t matter if it’s weather related, a mental block, or just not having a good day, having a bad workout is very frustrating.
However, you should never try the workout again the next day.
If you ran more than half the workout already, attempting to perform the workout again is going to add serious fatigue and almost assuredly will result in overtraining or an overuse injury. Proper recovery is essential to staying injury-free.
The best approach is to examine why you had a bad day and try to fix that problem before your next session. Did you not fuel well? Not get enough sleep? Make sure you address these more important factors to ensure more consistent workouts over the long-term.
Moreover, look for lessons in the negatives. Did you give up easily when it started to hurt? Was your pacing off? Learn from these lessons and make your next workout count.
Cramming To Fit Everything In During The Week
Another all-too-common mistake is trying to cram missed workouts in during the week. It’s common to see runners miss their long run on a Sunday and then try to make it up on Monday. This isn’t a bad thing≤ provided they also move back their next hard session and consider reducing or eliminating their next long run.
However, most runners I know simply move the long run to Monday and complete their upcoming week as scheduled.
Again, this is a one-way ticket to your local sports doctor. Cramming workouts together only leads to overtraining and a significant increase in injury risk. More importantly, missing one workout will not impact your fitness in any meaningful way.
If you miss an important workout, like a long run during marathon training, take the time to examine and rearrange your schedule appropriately. Don’t simply force the missed run back into your current schedule.
Running Too Fast
Every runner loves when they crush a workout. Nothing feels better than exceeding expectations and soaking up the confidence from knowing you ran well ahead of pace. However, the feeling will likely be fleeting as your structural system attempts to recover from the excess strain you subjected it to.
Remember that no singular workout is the key to success. The only “secret” to faster running is healthy, consistent training.
Not Enough Focus On Injury-Prevention Work
Research has shown us that structural weaknesses are a primary factory in most running injuries. For example, there is a strong relationship between a lack of hip strength and running knee injuries (runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, and patella tendonitis). As such, one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay injury-free is to include core and hip strengthening routines into your training schedule.
Unfortunately, most runners already have a difficult time fitting in all the kilometers, never mind finding time for strengthening exercises. So, they skimp on the strength and preventive training in favor of running more kilometers However, a much wiser decision is to include strength and preventive training, even if it’s at the expense of a few kilometers.
Impressive mileage totals won’t do you any good if you get hurt after three or four weeks. The miniscule metabolic benefit a few additional kilometers is nothing compared to month after month of healthy, consistent training.
The next time you’re faced with the decision of whether to run an extra two miles or getting in your injury-prevention work, think long-term and remember how much being injured stinks.
You are only given 1 pair and they have to last a lifetime.
Whether you’re taking a sightseeing trip, walking the dog, or traipsing along in your favorite pair of heels, your feet can get a lot of wear and tear during this time of year — as well as year-round.
But unless there’s pain, most people in general don’t really pay a lot of attention to their foot health.
Here are 13 mistakes to watch out for:
• Wrong footwear: The biggest problem that I see when patients come to see me with foot problems is they’re wearing the wrong shoe, such as jandals, or the wrong size of shoe.
The right shoe varies from person to person and depends on such factors as whether the individual has flat feet or high arches, or a disease, such as diabetes, that can affect foot health.
For diabetics, The Podiatrist can prescribe special shoes which tend to be seamless and deeper than regular shoes.
Diabetics need to be careful with their feet because people with the disease often have circulation problems and a difficult time feeling pain in their feet. That makes them susceptible to ulcers and open wounds that can lead to infections and amputations. A lot of diabetics, they would like to get in their sandals and shoes and not wear their diabetic shoes, but that’s where they get into trouble.
• Failing to try on new shoes: A lot of times you will see a pretty shoe and you just grab it and you go. Make sure you try the shoe on. Make sure you walk around in the store. Make sure that you get it properly fitted and have the right cushion or insole in the shoe and that you seek medical attention when you experience foot problems, instead of letting any problems linger.
• Not taking good care of shoes: Especially if you’re a runner, don’t let your shoes get too old, and mind the weather. Leaving shoes in a hot car is enough to make the rubber materials not function properly.
• Wearing jandals: With a jandal type of shoe, people have to grasp with their toes, and their foot can come out of the shoe. The grasping process can cause pain all the way up into the leg.
• Going barefoot: This is generally a bad idea because the feet need support and padding. There’s also the danger of stepping on a sharp object or breaking a toe, People with neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet could get injured without even knowing it. Also, despite the introduction of minimalist running shoes that are supposed to be similar to going barefoot, not a lot of people can tolerate such lack of cushioning.
• Wearing sky-high shoes: When you wear a very high heel, there’s a lot of pressure on the base of the toes which can lead to pain and calluses.
The Podiatrist recommends not wearing high heels for any extended amount of walking. Any time you go much higher than 2 ½ inches, it’s very unnatural on the ankle and the foot and throws the weight forward so much that it’s easier to fall and turn your ankle.
• Wearing shoes that are too flat: Ballet flats tend to be too low, and most people feel better in a shoe with at least a little bit of a heel and some cushioning. The sole of the shoe needs to be firm. If the sole of the shoe is too soft, your foot is going to bend a lot and there will be a lot of weight on the ball of the foot.
• Not examining the feet: The Podiatrist recommends every six months for diabetics to have their (feet) examined. When they do come in, we do a thorough circulation exam. We do a thorough neurological exam and examine their feet and examine their shoes … and if we identify any complications or any problems, then we let them know how to manage it.
Checking your own feet is a good idea, too. Briefly each day, examine the bottom of your feet to make sure there’s nothing going on, especially if you’re diabetic, Ahmed said. You can use a makeup mirror or a long-handled mirror.
• Failing to address medical conditions: With diabetics, if you don’t have your sugars under control, you are not going to heal an ulcer no matter what you do to it.
Heart disease and weight problems also can affect foot health.
• Being obese: Obesity can contribute to foot deformities, with extra pressure on the ankle joints, there’s more pressure on the smaller joints of the foot, which are fragile. People will get more flat feet. People will tend to get more bunion pain, more hammer toes. They also can develop plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the feet, he said. If people lose at least 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, their symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Obesity also is affecting the size of people’s feet. A lot of shoe companies do not make wide varieties, and with the increasing rate of obesity in our country, people are getting wider feet.
• Standing too much: Plantar fasciitis is really worsened by standing a lot in one place. If you have to do that, you should try to shift your weight from side to side and consider purchasing over-the-counter arch support, a plastic piece that goes under the arch.
• Being a weekend warrior: Many people who are sedentary during the week will get involved in physical activity, such as golfing and running, on weekends and wind up with ankle sprains and pain. They’ll try to do all of these things that they’re not used to doing, so their ankle will get sprained. Stretching before and after exercise and having a regular regimen of working out so that you’re not just going from zero to 60.
• Allowing moisture to hang around: Beware of fungal infections. Fungus loves moisture and fungus is everywhere; the spores are in the air. If your feet are kept moist enough, fungus will start growing, so change your socks more often, keep them dry and don’t put wet shoes on. Try to rotate shoes so you don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
For more any problems, visit The Podiatrist
With the Olympics approaching in July, you can expect to witness some amazing feats of athleticism this summer. But Olympic athletes won’t be the only ones competing hard in sports – so will your kids.
Millions of children worldwide will participate in sports this year, from softball to soccer and swimming to cycling. No matter what their sport or whether they play competitively or just for fun, they will have one important thing in common: They’ll need their feet to be pain-free if they’re going to play their best and prevent injuries.
Sports play a significant role in the lives of millions of young athletes. Parents need to be aware that sports, which require a substantial amount of running, turning, and contact, can translate to injuries. Protecting children’s feet from injuries, and bringing them to a podiatrist when problems occur, can help keep kids in the game and make the sport more enjoyable.
Some tips for helping protect children’s feet while playing sports:
* Protective taping of the ankles is often necessary to help prevent sprains or fractures.
* Buying a shoe designed for the specific sport your child plays not only improves your child’s performance in the sport, it also can help protect him or her from serious foot and ankle injuries.
* Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won’t score points-on the field or off. Athletic socks should consist of a natural/synthetic blend, which is best at wicking away moisture and minimizing foot odour. Socks should not have large seams that might cause blisters or irritation.
Commonly played sports and the risks associated with them include:
* Netball and Basketball – Children playing basketball may be at risk for ankle sprains, tendinitis and plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the sole of the foot). To minimize the risk of foot injury, choose a shoe with a thick, stiff sole, high ankle support and shock absorption.
* Tennis – The rapid, repetitive lateral movements and shifting of weight required of tennis players can lead to injuries such as ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and corns or calluses. Tennis players will do best with a flexible-soled shoe that supports both sides of the foot.
* Running – Movements required of runners include leg extension and hitting the balls of the feet with a great deal of force. Running can lead to shin splints, heel pain and blisters. A good running shoe should offer good support and shock absorption. In some cases, custom orthotics may be necessary to provide additional support and control of foot motion.
* Rugby and Soccer – The running, jumping and lateral movements required of rugby and soccer players can lead to many foot injuries, with heel pain and shin splints being among the most common. Rugby and soccer boots should provide multiple cleats in the heel area and enough room for thick .
Sports-related foot and ankle injuries are on the rise as more children participate actively in sports. Parents need to be vigilant to ensure children’s feet remain healthy and safe. And remember – lack of complaint by a child is not a reliable sign that everything is fine. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it.
Ensuring your child’s feet stay healthy could go a long way – your young athlete could one day be the next superstar athlete. If your child participates in strenuous sports, monitor his or her foot health closely. If you suspect a problem, take your child to The Podiatrist for evaluation and treatment
Being that your feet are the connection to the ground, they have to primed and steps should be taken to avoid injury that can slow you down or knock you out of the race. So whether you are training to win or simply running to run, it is important to know what foot problems can occur, and hopefully treat them before they become a marathon-breaker.
Specific Marathon Foot Issues: No matter how experienced a runner, the foot is always susceptible to running injuries, and this risk amplified during marathon training. On marathon day, however, there is specific injury risk because runners tend to me more committed to “running though” a problem (new
A method to remember marathon-related foot problems is the mnemonic “ABCD“:
Abrasions & Blisters
Cramping & Tendon Problems
Disorders of the Toenail
Provided below are explanations of marathon-related foot injuries as well as preventative measures. Should you, the reader (or runner), have any additional preventive solutions or tips for any of the running ABCD’s, please share them.
Abrasions & Blisters: Pressure points and repetitive irritation set the stage for abrasions and blisters. Common runner pressure spots are on the top of the toes, big toe joint area and the back part of the heel. Runners with bunions and hammer toes are more likely to have skin irritation. An abrasion is a simple break in the skin, whereas a blister is lifting of the skin with a fluid collection beneath it.
- Preventive Solutions:
Prevention is best form of treatment. Keep skin thoroughly moisturized, as dry
skin is more prone to tearing. Callused areas should be targeted, and urea
creams are specifically useful in breaking down excessive skin build-up.
Callus/corn removers should be used cautiously as they contain salicylic acid
and can excessively deteriorate tissue, leading to open sores.
- Socks are important in the battle
against skin irritation when running long distances. Specialty socks have
specific protective cushioned areas dedicated to pressure spots.
- Ill-fitting footwear is one of the
main reason for friction, so it’s important to have sneakers that best fit your
foot type. Also, carefully inspect the stitching at the front of the sneaker
where the toes bend to be sure that it does not rub when fully extended. Newer
sneakers are more likely to be problematic.
Bone Breaks: Fractures (aka bone breaks) are the most serious problem that a runner could develop. They typically start as a microscopic fracture (stress fracture) and can progress onto a through and through break. Most common are metatarsal stress fractures involving the second toe region. Heel strike runners may be more susceptible to stress fractures of the heel bone.
An acute stress fracture is often present with varying degrees of pain, swelling, and sometimes redness, though stress fractures may occur without you even knowing it. Running with a stress fracture is not medically advised, and most health care professionals would recommend calling off the race. Runners who don’t heed such advice may fully fracture through the bone which could lead to bone displacement (malalignment) — a potentially serious problem. Some people may have brittle bones making them more likely to develop a bone injury. Certain foot types seem to be more prone to stress fractures — very flat feet or very high arched feet.
- Preventive Solutions:
Over stressing the foot is what often leads to fractures. Pain may also be an
indicator that you are training beyond the current capability of your foot, so
it may be necessary to scale back. Pain should not be ignored, and any could be
a sign of a fracture, so seeking professional medical care is recommended.
- More cushioned sneakers do not
necessarily offer more protection from developing an injury, and running form
may be more important. Nonetheless, properly fitting running sneakers are
important to help you become more in tune with your running technique.
Depending of foot structure, orthotics may help balance the foot and take
pressure off those spots prone to stress fractures.
- Proper nutrition is important in
maintaining strong bones. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen formation, a
precursor to bone. Calcium is needed for proper bone health and Vitamin D helps
promote Calcium absorption. Eating a balanced meal should be a part of your
overall health plan.
Cramping & Tendonitis: Biomechanical and structural problems within the foot tend to manifest as shin splints, arch cramping, plantar fasciitis and/or tendinitis. Less experienced runners tend to develop these problems and is commonly the result of training past the capabilities of your foot. Tight musculature may also be at the root of cramping and shin splints. These problems tend to be self-limited and resolve with targeted treatment programs, but can set you back in terms of being marathon ready.
- Preventive Solutions: Building
strength and stamina slowly is the best method to avoid injury. Be sure to
incorporate a thorough stretching program to keep muscles and tendons stretched
and warmed up. Weak muscles within the foot can be strengthened with specific
foot training programs. Ease cramping in the foot with post-run Epsom salt
baths. Deep tissue massage is also a helpful measure.
- Arch supports (orthotics) can help
manage arch pain by providing support and perhaps better alignment of the foot
in certain people. Of course, foot type plays a big role in selecting the
proper amount of support. Running in the wrong-type of sneaker for your foot
may be responsible for discomfort, so changing sneakers may be beneficial. A
break from running may be necessary to resolve the problem. Runners with
persistent problems should seek the advice of a health care professional.
Disorders of the Toenail: A black toenail is a problem that every marathon runner has experienced, and is the result of bleeding beneath the nail plate. Pressure and friction from repetitive running seem to be the culprit. The damaged nail can be painful and often results in the toenail falling off.
Fortunately, a black toenail doesn’t typically interfere with training and common is self-limiting.
- Preventive Solutions:
Prevention is difficult, as the black toenail is often the result of prolonged
toenail irritation from the intense mileage of training. Again, properly
fitting shoes with enough room for the toenails are helpful. Keep toenails well
trimmed to not create a fulcrum for the nail to become lifted. It is unclear if
moisturizing the toenails offers any protective benefit but a soft nail may,
theoretically, be less prone to damage. Should you develop an acute painful
black toenail, then medical attention may be needed to alleviate the active
collection of blood. An irritated loose nail may become infected and this can
By the time marathon day rolls around, and if you have avoided or overcome injury during your training and your feet are pain free, then you likely have feet that are ready to start a marathon.
For any advice on footwear or if you have any problems, make an appointment with The Podiatrist.