Read this before starting a running routine

Woman wearing running shoes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) January is a time of New Year’s resolutions, and many of them involve getting in shape. If you’ve resolved to start running, there are some things you need to know to avoid injuries.

Dr. Kevin Anderson, an orthopedic surgeon at Spectrum Health Medical Group, says too many people are turned off of running simply by trying to start too fast. Their bodies rebel and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.

How to Start

Ease into your running program gradually. There are many good Couch to 5K programs available. Most of the beginners’ programs are less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from a couch potato to a runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months without injury.

Running and Walking

In most Couch to 5K programs, you start off slow. A five minute walk to warm up, then alternate one minute of jogging with one and a half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes three times a week. Each week you add a little more running and time, until you are jogging three miles or 30 minutes eight weeks later.

>>> Blog: Couch potato to 5K

Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

By taking a few precautions and planning, you can prevent many common running injuries. Listen to your body. Don’t ignore pain. A little soreness is okay, but if you notice consistent pain in a muscle or joint that doesn’t get better with rest, see your health care provider.

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

Running injuries are usually overuse injuries of the foot, lower leg, knee, and hip and can include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bruised heel
  • Broken heel bone (Calcaneal fracture)
  • Bunion
  • Athletes foot
  • Ingrown toenail
  • Blisters
  • Heel spur
  • Extensor tendonitis
  • Metatarsal fracture

Treatments for Two Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

An ankle sprain is the accidental stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often happens when the foot twists or rolls inward. Sprains typically get better with rest, ice, compression, and elevating the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. That’s the thick band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes. People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Although it may be linked to adding activity, plantar fasciitis can also happen without any obvious reason. Treatment includes calf stretches, rest, or icing the bottom of the foot.

For some injuries, ice bathing and isolated icing help to fight the microtrauma of the muscles caused by high mileage and speed work. Microtrauma, in the form of small tears to the muscle fibers, can leave runners feeling sore and stiff. The cold of the ice bath helps to reduce swelling and draws blood to the sore areas, which may hasten the healing process.

Set a Goal

For many people, setting a goal helps keep them on track. For example, viewers might want to sign up for Spectrum Health’s 5K – the Irish Jig on March 19. Now in its 33rd year, the Irish Jig has grown to become one of Michigan’s premier 5K races. Spectrum Health is proud to promote colorectal cancer awareness through the Irish Jig. Call (616) 391-4JIG (4544) or go online to register.

Spectrum Health Medical Group
Orthopedics – Foot & Ankle
4100 Lake Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids
(616) 267-8860

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