Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Protecting Those Precious Joints: Summer Health for Runners

When performed correctly, running improves both cardiovascular fitness and joint condition. However, diehard runners should embrace the following tips to prevent injury, especially as summer and fall marathons approach. 
  • Proper footwear is no joke. Everyone loves a bargain, but it’s a good idea to avoid cheap footwear. Recreational and competitive runners benefit from shoes that include high-quality arch support and sole cushioning. Most athletes wear a half to full size larger in running shoes, so it’s smart to be properly fitted for running shoes at a store staffing qualified footwear consultants. If you run often, consider purchasing two pairs of shoes so they can properly dry between runs.    
  • Choose your running surface wisely. When you have the opportunity, select a semi-soft surface like grass or dirt. Running daily on concrete or asphalt is harder on knee joints. Avoid uneven surfaces, where you’ll have more chance of rolling an ankle or injuring your foot. 
  • Cross train on the off days. To build up your “non-running” muscles, try swimming, biking and strength training. Cross training makes you a well-rounded athlete that’s less prone to injury. 
  • Warm-up and stretch. Avoid taking off at full speed with out a warm-up or pre-run stretch. Though it takes extra time, structured warm-ups prepare your body for the task to come—and reduce the chance of ligament, tendon and muscle damage.
  • Listen to your body. Pain is a signal that something is awry, so don’t “push through the pain.” Instead: ice, elevate and rest minor injuries, and give your body the time it needs to heal when it’s hurt. For more nagging or chronic pain, consult with your orthopedic surgeon. The Kayal Orthopaedic Center team specializes in conservative and surgical treatment plans, and is committed to getting runners back to exercise quickly and safely.   
At Kayal Orthopaedic Center, PC, we encourage patients to embrace wellness through regular exercise. To schedule your sports medicine appointment at either of our state-of-the-art facilities, call 201-447-3880 today, or fill out our brief contact form. A staff member will return your call promptly. We look forward to caring for you!