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You Can’t Run From Pain

A lot of people start running to lose weight or get in shape. While it’s a great way to lose weight quickly and tone up for swimsuit season, our bodies need to be fit to run. Your body needs to be flexible and strong enough to support your training. By performing the right strength and flexibility training specific to runners, you will become faster, have better running form and prevent injuries – oh, and don’t forget that you will look even better in those little short-shorts you’ve been eyeing.

Up to 90 percent of runners get injured every year, but once you read this and apply the prevention strategies, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of joining the running wounded. If you happen to be feeling an ache or a pain, learn what to do about it before it becomes serious. The following are the most common injured areas in runners and instructions on what to do to make sure your body is fit to run in order to prevent or treat those injuries.

 

RUNNER’S KNEE
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE This knee pain will feel achy or stiff in the front of your knee, around your kneecap. It can get worse with running (clearly), going up and down stairs and sitting for long periods of time.

WHAT CAUSES IT  With all of these injuries, poor running form is the primary cause of the pain, and it can stem from any area of the body. This increased stress and strain on the front of the knee is usually from hips that move like a model on the catwalk. Keep them steady while you run with the tips below.

HOW TO PREVENT PAIN OR SELF-TREAT IF YOU START TO FEEL SYMPTOMS 
STRETCHING Hip flexors and quadriceps
STRENGTHENING  Clamshells

 

SHIN SPLINTS 
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE Pain lingers over the middle or lower third of the inner shin during or after running, and it is usually tender to the touch.

WHAT CAUSES IT  Poor running form (again!) can cause too much stress on the tibia (main shin bone). Here’s where your feet come into play: if your arches are too flat or too tall, or too weak or too stiff, it can put extra pressure on your shins.

HOW TO PREVENT PAIN OR SELF-TREAT IF YOU START TO FEEL SYMPTOMS 
STRETCHING Calf stretches with one knee straight and the other bent
STRENGTHENING   Single-leg balance and single-leg heel raises

 

ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME (IT Band Syndrome) 
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE  This is pain on the outside of your knee or outside of your lower thigh that increases with hill running, stairs and sitting for prolonged periods, and it may be tender to the touch.

WHAT CAUSES IT You guessed it – poor running form is again the main offender. Your hips won’t get a break here either. Hips that are too tight or weak cause stress to the outer knee. Channel your inner Shakira and get some control over those hips!

HOW TO PREVENT PAIN OR SELF-TREAT IF YOU START TO FEEL SYMPTOMS
STRETCHING Hip flexors and foam-rolling
STRENGTHENING  Clamshells and side planks

 

ACHILLES TENDONITIS
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE  Achilles tendonitis is pain in your calf, Achilles tendon or in the back of the heel that is worse when first moving or running.

WHAT CAUSES IT  Did you recently read Born to Run and now are a barefoot running connoisseur? Switching shoes too quickly without letting your body adapt is a surefire way to flare up the Achilles. Tightness or weakness in the calves and weakness in the hips may also lead to problems with your Achilles heel.

HOW TO PREVENT PAIN OR SELF-TREAT IF YOU START TO FEEL SYMPTOMS 
STRETCHING  Foam-rolling calves
STRENGTHENING  Single-leg heel raises

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