Upping Your Mileage This Fall? Here’s How To Avoid Common Runner’s Injuries.

Oct 01, 2023
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Are you ready to lace up your sneaks and pound the pavement? Whether you’re training for a big race or are focused on overall fitness, it’s crucial to have a good plan in place. Follow these steps so an injury won’t sabotage your running goals.

It may feel good watching those miles add up, but they can also put a lot of strain on your body, especially your feet and ankles. In reality, that’s also the downside of running; runners often end up with injuries.

But, you don’t have to despair or give up that runner’s high. It just takes the right preparation to help you increase your mileage, speed, or intensity more safely.

Hai-En Peng, DPM, FACFAS, sees runners on a regular basis at Align Foot & Ankle Center in Camarillo and Santa Barbara, California. Not only is he an experienced podiatrist, he also has a subspecialty in sports medicine

With Dr. Peng’s specialized care, you can get back on the trail faster if injury strikes. However, he recommends following these steps so you can increase your chances of avoiding problems in the first place.

1. Wear the right shoes

One of the great things about running is that it doesn’t require a ton of special gear. However, that doesn’t mean you can just put on a pair of sneakers and head out the door. 

Every time your foot hits the ground or treadmill, it puts stress on your body. That means your tennis shoes are more than a fashion statement; they’re a protective piece of equipment. 

Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, you should consider your shoes a priority when running. Work with a specialist who can ensure you get the best fit and support based on your foot structure, gait, and preferred running surface.

Do you think you already have the perfect shoes? Don’t forget that running takes a toll on them, too. Plan on replacing your kicks every six months or 400-600 miles.

2. Don’t skimp on strength training and flexibility exercises

Running may be your first love or top priority, but you need to train your body in other ways as well to stay in peak condition. As a runner, that means strength and flexibility.

Adding strength building exercises to your training program can help improve your muscle tone and increase your endurance. Plus, it can make you stronger!

And, adding activities that focus on flexibility, such as yoga, can help keep your body limber and loose. And while you’re stretching, don’t forget about your toes, feet, and ankles.

By combining strength training and flexibility exercises with your running program, you can improve your performance and reduce your risk for injury.

3. Listen to your body

Your training schedule may say that you need to go a few extra miles, but that doesn’t mean you should. 

It can be tempting to push yourself toward a goal, even if something hurts or you feel sluggish or rundown. Instead, listen to your body and modify your plans. Remember, your body needs rest to be at its best. In fact, taking breaks from running can help keep fatigue and injuries at bay.

4. Take your time

No matter what you’re training for, gradually increase your performance level.

In many cases, running injuries occur from overtraining. For some, that means adding too many miles too soon. For others, it means increasing the intensity level too soon. Either way, overtraining can put too much strain on your body, which can lead to problems.

So, take your time as you head toward your goals. Start with short runs and slowly build up your distance with time. Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week, and never increase intensity during the same week.

5. See an expert

Finally, if something hurts, don’t wait to see an expert. Trying to push through the pain can make many injuries worse. 

Common foot and ankle injuries from running include:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Sprains and strains
  • Stress fractures and shin splints

Dr. Peng also recommends that runners see a podiatrist for foot and ankle issues that can interfere with running, such as ingrown toenails, hammertoes, flatfeet, and bunions. He can offer sports medicine strategies to treat these issues so you can run pain- and injury-free for years to come.

Are you ready to increase your mileage? Learn more about sports medicine care for runners by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with Align Foot & Ankle Center today.