Your questions about running injuries answered

The world’s greatest runners speak poetically about how they deal with physical pain. Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon run...

The world’s greatest runners speak poetically about how they deal with physical pain.

Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon runner, says pain is nothing more than a state of mind. He has a habit of smiling when it sets in.

By running six marathons in six weeks, Shalan Flanagan has been reminded “how temporary pain can be felt and how permanent memories can be.”

Allyson FelixWHO passed Carl Lewis as the most decorated U.S. Olympian in track and field, said the pain is still there. It all depends on how it can power you.

So there is Molly Seidel. His trainer, Jon Green, says his pain tolerance is almost too high. But, he said, “Molly won’t tell me something hurts her unless it gets to the point where she feels I need to know.”

This is where the problem lies. There’s the pain you can overcome, and then there’s the need to know, the kind of pain that takes a break.

The differentiation between the two is difficult even for professionals. It’s no wonder that most runners, including our readers, have or are sustaining injuries.

To help you, we are continuing our series of interviews with experts so you can do your best in 2022. This week, we return with Yera Patel, physical therapist at NYU Langone Health.

Patel answered some of our readers’ questions about training, injuries and health. Of course, if you’re dealing with an injury, the best advice is to see a medical professional.

Questions and answers have been edited and condensed.

I keep getting shin splints or stress fractures. What am I doing wrong?

Shin splints and stress fractures occur when an activity has exceeded the load-bearing capacity of the bone. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including nutritional deficiencies, lack of strength or flexibility, or poor biomechanics. That said, I find that the most common reasons people develop shin splints are mistakes in their workout programming.

Be sure to gradually increase mileage without sudden changes in speed or distance. Additionally, it may be worth having an expert check your running mechanics to see if you demonstrate high loading patterns like a pronounced heel strike.

A simple modification you can make is to turn your feet faster or increase your running pace to around 180 steps per minute. This change can reduce the impact of loading while changing the way you run very little.

Everyone talks about the importance of cross-training. But what type of non-running training do you recommend? Roller? Cycling? Elliptical? Swim?

There have been studies that show transfers of aerobic capacity between cycling, swimming, and running, which are excellent forms of aerobic cross-training. But not all cross-training is created equal! If you want to supplement your running, I would say the most important form to include is actually strength training.

Single leg deadlifts, squats and strengthening are great ways to improve running performance and reduce the risk of injury.

There’s also plenty of research on how plyometric work can improve running economy, so incorporating the occasional box jump or squat jump into your program can also be helpful.

What about upper body injuries, those that can affect the way I swing my arms while running? Can I run despite a shoulder or arm injury?

Our shoulders are important for powering arm training when running. When done effectively, this arm workout can maintain momentum and reduce the overall energy cost of running.

If the shoulder or arm pain while running is less than 3 on a pain scale of 0 to 10 and the pain usually subsides during the run, you are probably safe to continue. If the pain is more than three or if the pain increases while running, I recommend that you do not aggravate the injury.

Either way, it’s worth seeking the help of a medical professional to diagnose your shoulder pain and manage the symptoms.

I have bad form when I run, which leads to back pain. Are there any exercises you recommend to improve running form?

There are many reasons why an athlete may develop back pain while running. It can be a lack of hip extension, decreased core strength, or hip weakness, among others. A thorough running analysis can be very helpful in determining why back pain may be caused while running.

Generally, it can be helpful to strengthen your core with isometric exercises like a Pallof press or plank variations. I would also like to make sure your glutes are strong and activated to push your hip into extension when running.

If runners aren’t able to properly bring their hip back into extension, they can put excessive pressure on their lower back and develop pain.

What is your advice for getting back into running, whether after a short break or years since I last ran?

A gradual, well-planned program is essential when returning to running after a long hiatus or injury. Generally speaking, you want to make sure that you increase distance first over any other variable like speed or incline.

Once you can run at a distance you were comfortable with before, you can start to increase your pace.

A good rule of thumb is to pick one run per week and increase the distance of that run by 5% of the week’s total volume. For example, let’s say you run 5 kilometers three times a week, which brings your weekly distance to 15 kilometers. Add 5% of 15 kilometers to one of your weekly runs, so do two 5 kilometer runs and one 5.75 kilometer run.

Repeat this increase every week until you reach your desired long distance distance.

If this seems tricky, it may be worth seeing a professional like a physiotherapist who can guide you through pain management and racing after an injury.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Your questions about running injuries answered
Your questions about running injuries answered
Newsrust - US Top News
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