We run to get into shape. But do we get into shape so we can run?
Running can be a great activity for conditioning, weight loss or stress relief. But there are very few activities we do as human beings that have such a repetitive nature and can take a little problem and turn it into a large one. Plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures and general aches and pains can all limit our enjoyment of running. The good news is that there are things we can do to minimize our risk of injury.
Keeping our hips, knees, ankles and our big toes mobile are important when it comes to keeping a nice smooth stride. Otherwise we limp, gallop or hobble across the tundra, and eventually start breaking down and hurting.
To make sure you are staying mobile and can continue running, try some of these exercises:
Cobra To Child’s Pose
Lego Rocks for ankle dorsiflexion and great toe extension
Mobility is essential to move normally, but without the strength to balance it out, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. These simple exercises can keep your feet, ankles, knees and hips in shape:
Heel and Toe Raise
Single Dead Lift
Visiting a physical therapist before you begin a running program can also alert you to potential issues that may lead to injury. If there are any issues or concerns, your therapist can adjust your activities and keep your fitness program headed in the right direction. And as always, any activity can have its risk of injury, and injuries do occur! But just because we bite our lip, doesn’t mean we give up eating. So, if an injury does occur, don’t give up on running! See your physical therapist, get back in shape, and back to running!
DR. KURT BROOKS, PT, DSCPT, OCS
Physical Therapist, Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist