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Upping Your Mileage This Spring? Avoid These Common Runner's Injuries

Upping Your Mileage This Spring? Avoid These Common Runner's Injuries

Injuries strike at least half of all regular runners each year, and if you’ve ever had a running injury, you know the frustration of being sidelined firsthand. If you’re planning on upping your mileage this spring, you want to do everything you can to avoid common runner’s injuries, ensuring that you get the most out of your workouts.

Our team at Concord Podiatry, led by board-certified foot and ankle specialist David Biss, DPM, specializes in sports medicine. If you’re injured, you can rely on us to help you recover so you can return to running as quickly and safely as possible. 

Of course, the goal is to minimize the risk of getting injured in the first place. Before you start increasing your miles, check out our tips on avoiding some of the most common injuries runners face.

Runner's knee

By far one of the most common injuries runner’s contend with is runner’s knee. If you’re feeling pain around your kneecap when you run, sit for long periods, or climb stairs, you might be dealing with runner's knee. 

It’s linked to repeated stress on the knee joint, which is common in runners. Running technique can also play a role in developing runner’s knee.

Prevention starts with strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips to ensure proper knee alignment and distribution of force. Also, incorporating low-impact cross-training activities into your routine can give your knees a break while maintaining your fitness. 

Running in the proper shoes is also crucial. Investing not just money but your time and effort in choosing the right running shoe ensures comfort, contributes to performance, and protects from injuries. 

It’s worthwhile to consult with a professional who can analyze your foot structure and gait.

Shin splints

A throbbing pain in the front of your lower legs is a sign of shin splints, which are especially common among new runners or runners who ramp up their training. If you’re planning to increase your mileage on your runs this spring, it’s especially crucial to reduce your risk of shin splints. 

The key to avoiding this common injury is gradual mileage increases — no more than 10% per week. This gives your body the opportunity to adapt. 

Additionally, running on softer surfaces, like trails or grass, can lessen the impact on your shins. Strengthening exercises for your calf muscles are also beneficial in preventing shin splints.

Achilles tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the band connecting your calf muscles to your heel, can become inflamed due to overuse, tight calf muscles, or suddenly increased running intensity. To sidestep this injury, focus on calf strengthening and stretching exercises. 

Ensure your training plan includes a gradual buildup of intensity and volume. If you're introducing hill workouts or speed training, do so incrementally to allow your tendons to adjust.

Plantar fasciitis

Heel pain is extremely common in runners. Plantar fasciitis occurs when there’s irritation and inflammation of the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Like runner’s knee, it’s a common overuse injury. 

Typical symptoms include sharp heel pain that feels worse after periods of rest or inactivity. Plantar fasciitis is also typically worse in the morning and gets better as you start your day. If you experience these symptoms, Dr. Biss can help.

Wearing the right shoes, which provide the right running support for your gait and foot structure, can go a long way in preventing plantar fasciitis. Additionally, custom orthotics ensure that you have good support and that your weight is distributed evenly. 

If you’re a new runner, start gradually and listen to your body. You put yourself at risk of developing heel pain if you ramp up too quickly. 

Optimizing your running season safely

If you’re planning to maximize your spring running season, the team at Concord Podiatry can assist you in doing it safely. Dr. Biss can assess your need for orthotics, analyze your gait, ensure that your shoes are providing the proper support, and diagnose any existing foot or leg issues. 

Contact us today to schedule a visit so you can hit the trail with confidence this spring!

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