Whether for sport or exercise, running is a great way to stay in shape. Though it’s normal to experience some muscle soreness after running, especially if you added a few miles or inclines to your route, running mistakes can cause serious pain that leads to injury. 

At Premier Spine and Sports Medicine, in Hagerstown, Maryland, we see a lot of running injuries. Our sports medicine specialists, including Christopher D. Clark, MD, and the physical therapy team, want to share some of the most common mistakes people make when running that cause pain.

Skipping the warm-up

Warming up before you hit the pavement helps your body get ready for your run. It revs up your cardiovascular system and increases blood flow to your hard-working muscles. 

You may be tempted to skip the warm-up to shave a few minutes off your exercise time, but not properly preparing your body for aerobic activity can lead to unnecessary pain, which may include more muscle soreness or an injury.

The American Council on Exercise recommends a dynamic warm-up for runners. What does this mean? A dynamic warm-up is an active warm-up that targets the muscles and joints you use while you run and may include knee hugs, forward lunges, and leg swings. 

Running too much

When you’re training for a race or you’re new to running, you may think more is better. But running too much and not giving your body the time it needs to recuperate may increase your risk of developing an overuse injury such as:

  • Runner’s knee
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fracture

To prevent pain from this common running mistake, increase the number of miles you run gradually, include at least two rest days during the week, and add other types of exercises that work on other muscle groups (swimming, yoga, strength training). 

Wearing the wrong shoes

Running is a great form of exercise, but all that pounding puts a lot of extra stress on your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Your running shoes help support these joints. Wearing old shoes or the wrong type of shoe may result in pain or injury.

We know how hard it can be to figure out what shoe works best for you. Our running rehabilitation specialist performs a gait analysis to help you find the best shoe to support your body while you run.

During a gait analysis, you run on a treadmill for a few minutes wearing your usual running shoes. We use sensors and cameras to record your movements and our physical therapist assesses your running stride and posture.

We use the information gathered from the gait analysis to make footwear recommendations that improve your gait, running stride, and posture to ease your pain and improve your workout. 

Ignoring your pain

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Though taking a few days off from your usual workout may give your body time to heal, not getting the proper treatment for your pain may lead to a more serious injury.

If your running causes pain, our sports medicine and rehabilitation specialists can help. They conduct thorough evaluations to find the root cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan that helps you heal quickly to prevent a more serious injury. 

In addition to a gait analysis, we may recommend various other treatments, such as orthopedic physical therapy to improve muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. Or manual therapy to ease pain and improve joint mobility.

Though there is some truth to the “no pain, no gain” motto when it comes to running, not all pain is good pain. If you have concerns about mistakes you’re making while running that cause pain, we’d love to help. Contact our office by phone or book an appointment online today. 

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