If you made resolutions for 2017, it’s pretty likely they are health-based. Many people enter the new year with plans to either eat better or get more exercise, and for good reason! Smart dietary choices and regular physical activities are pillars of your overall wellbeing.
There are many ways to get regular exercise, with running being a popular choice. This can likely be attributed to the fact it doesn’t take much equipment-wise and you don’t need a membership. Just pick up a pair of well-constructed, supportive running shoes, warm up and stretch, and then head out for your run.
Running can be an absolutely wonderful exercise. It burns calories, improves cardiovascular performance, and relieves stress. Now, the reason we said it “can” be a wonderful exercise instead of “is” comes down to the simple fact you could get hurt. There are many factors that come into play regarding the odds of you becoming injured, but any time humans are active, there’s a chance something will go wrong.
That doesn’t mean you should shy away from exercising, though!
On the contrary, exercise is certainly worth the injury risk. There are numerous benefits to leading an active life, including those that are physical, mental, and emotional. Whereas you may or may not sustain a running injury, you will definitely have improved physical conditioning, better sleep and mood, and enhanced cognitive performance from an appropriate running plan.
Beyond those benefits, you shouldn’t let injury risk keep you from running because most running injuries are effectively treated with conservative care. Sure, there are bound to be some instances where surgery is needed, but those are in the distinct minority.
Let’s take a look at some of the running injury treatment options we might use to help you get back to your workout program:
- RICE – This isn’t the starch, but rather an acronym used to reference rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest is a staple of most running treatment plans. Your body has a remarkable ability to heal, but this takes time. In addition to not giving your body time, staying active also could make your injury worse. Ice, compression, and elevation all have their respective roles for injury treatment, and these roles are centered on controlling inflammation and relieving pain.
- Medication – Depending on the nature of your injury, we may recommend certain medications to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If you are going to take over-the-counter medicine, be sure to consult with either our office or your primary care physician for appropriate dosage recommendations.
- Orthotics – These are medical devices that can be used to either control motion (functional orthoses) or provide extra conditioning (accommodative orthoses). Keep in mind that the inserts you can buy over-the-counter may provide some extra cushioning or arch support, but are not intended to actually treat a running injury.
Treatment for running injuries is good, but even better is to prevent injury from happening in the first place. This means following practices like:
- Easing into running. If you are just starting a running program, start at an easy level and then gradually build up over time. We see many patients who tried to do too much from the get-go.
- Wearing proper footwear. The correct pair of running shoes can make a world of difference. Shop in the late afternoon or early evening (when your feet are at their widest) and go to a store that caters specifically to runners. The associates at those stores are more knowledgeable and will help you find the shoes that work best for your feet.
- Not overdoing it. Running is a great exercise, but consider taking a couple of days during the week for cycling, swimming, yoga, or other low-impact exercises. This will give your body more time to recover and replace damaged tissue.
- Warming up and stretching first. Before you start any workout or running session, take the time to warm up with some light jogging or brisk walking, and then use dynamic stretches to prepare your body for the upcoming activity.
We hope you are able to stay safe by using these running injury prevention methods, but we also know it is impossible to eliminate all injury risk. In the event you do sustain a foot or ankle injury during running or any other physical activity, schedule a visit with Richardson Podiatry Center. We will make sure you receive the care you need, so call us toll-free at (855) 919-4548.