10 Ways to Prevent Running Injuries

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons offer tips for pain-free running

Rosemont, Illinois, UNITED STATES


Rosemont, Ill., Aug. 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As gyms closed and group fitness classes were canceled across the nation due to COVID-19, many people took up running as their choice of exercise. Running has great health benefits; however, it is a high-impact activity that can put you at risk for foot or ankle injuries. Follow these tips from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to run safely and pain free.

“When you suddenly increase the distance and amount of time spent running, it could lead to foot and ankle injuries like stress fractures, tendinitis, metatarsalgia, and plantar fasciitis,” said foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon, Sara H. Galli, MD, from Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. “Pain doesn't always mean ‘gain’ when you are doing something your body isn't used to.”

A. Holly Johnson, MD, from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, adds that if you experience pain during or after a run, you should rest, ice, and take time off from exercise. If the pain does not resolve in a few days, or it hurts to walk, you should see a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. If the pain is sudden or so severe that you can’t put weight on your foot, seek help sooner.

Drs. Galli and Johnson offer these 10 tips to runners to prevent foot and ankle injuries and avoid pain:

1. Find the right pair of athletic shoes that match your foot shape and strike pattern.

2. Make sure your running shoes are comfortable and fit properly from the moment you try them on. You should not need to break them in.

3. Invest in quality socks that absorb moisture.

4. Replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles.

5. Take the time to warm up before a run by doing exercises that increase your heart rate and bring blood flow to your muscles.

6. Increase your speed and distance gradually to allow your bones and tendons to adapt.

7. Listen to your body and stop running if something doesn’t feel right. 

8. After running, cool down with a low-intensity activity, such as yoga, to allow your heart rate to come down steadily and decrease the blood flow to your legs.

9. Stretch your calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes, and quads after running to maintain flexibility and decrease the chance of injury.

10. Refuel after exercise with at least 8-16 ounces of water and a protein-packed meal.

To learn more about foot and ankle conditions and to find a surgeon in your area, visit FootCareMD.org.

About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeons

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consist of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and a fellowship year of specialized surgical training. These specialists care for patients of all ages, performing reconstructive surgery for deformities and arthritis, treating sports injuries, and managing foot and ankle trauma. 

About the AOFAS

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) mobilizes our dynamic community of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to improve patient care through education, research, and advocacy. As the premier global organization for foot and ankle care, AOFAS delivers exceptional events and resources for continuous education, funds and promotes innovative research, and broadens patient understanding of foot and ankle conditions and treatments. By emphasizing collaboration and excellence, AOFAS inspires ever-increasing levels of professional performance leading to improved patient outcomes. For more information visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society online at aofas.org.

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Running has great health benefits; however, it is a high-impact activity that can put you at risk for foot or ankle injuries. Follow tips from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to run safely and pain free.

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