Love running but apprehensive about possible knee and heel pain? Other than wearing the appropriate footwear, warming up properly, and choosing the right surface to run on, here are some tips that may enhance your running experience.
1) Stretch before and after the run and hold 30-60 seconds per muscle. Common muscles that should be stretched include:
- Hip flexors
2) Although running stance is up to personal preference, it is good to be aware of your biomechanics. For example, shortening your stride and increasing cadence to gain speed can help to avoid landing on the heels, and instead, landing on the mid-foot, which can better distribute the force of impact to the calf muscles through the plantar fascia and the Achilles.
3) Practice prehabilitation
- Knee pain such as in jumper’s knee can be caused by instability in the ankle, strengthening muscles that cross this joint (such as the calves) can help to support this joint.
- Strengthening the hip extensors, such as your gluteus muscles can allow for a more efficient leg swing forward in the stride.
- Practicing toe-ing off on the big toe can help to prevent over pronating the ankle.
- Training and getting treated with massage therapy to avoid muscle imbalance can decrease chances of muscle injury and strain
Common injuries from running include:
- Patellofemoral syndrome: pain under and/or around knee cap
- Plantar fasciitis: pain at heel of foot
- Iliotibial band syndrome: pain at knee or hip
- Achilles tendonitis: pain at back of ankle
- Muscle strains: sharp pain
- Lower back and shoulder tightness from compensations in posture
Not only does regular massage therapy help treat the aches and pains it’s also great for prehabilitation purposes, and to help your muscles reach their optimal health… and enjoy your run!
Mira Zhang, RMT