Q&A: Ward Off Common Running Injuries


Can you recommend some good preventative exercises to ward off common running-related injuries like plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome, and chondromalacia patella (runner’s knee)?

 

Supplementary exercises can help prevent many running injuries.  Running is a great way to build cardiovascular endurance, but it doesn't do much to build muscle strength. Strengthening your legs and core can decrease the likelihood of developing some of the common aches and pains that runners go through.  Examples of such preventative exercises are:

  • Clamshell:  Lie on your side with both your knees bent, one leg legs stacked on top of the other, with a resistance band circling both legs just above the knees.  Keeping your feet together, slowly raise the top knee.  Repeat until fatigued, then switch sides.
  • Bridge:  Lie on your back with both your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.  Squeeze your abdominals and buttocks at the same time and slowly lift your hips.  Hold the top position for one to two seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down.  Repeat until fatigued.  To make this more challenging, perform the raise with one foot on the floor and the other leg extended horizontally.
  • Plank:  Lie on your right side, stacking your left leg on top of your right leg.  Place your right forearm along the floor and lift your body so you are resting on only your feet and forearm, with your upper arm perpendicular to your torso.  Hold the position for 15 seconds, then rotate your body until you reach a face-down position with your left forearm on the floor parallel to the right one. Hold the position for 15 seconds.  Then rotate to the other side.  You can make this more challenging by holding the positions longer.
  • Bird-dog:  Start on your hands and knees.  Slowly straighten your left arm and right leg until they are fully extended and parallel to the floor. Hold the position for one to two seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the right arm and left leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.  You can make the exercise more challenging by holding the extended-limb positions longer.
  • Squats:  Place a resistance band around both your knees and stand with your feet shoulder- width apart.  Tighten your abdominals and slowly bend your knees, moving your hips backward and trying to bring your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold the lowered position for one to two seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.  Repeat until fatigued.  You can make this more challenging by holding the lowered position longer.  

 

ABOUT THIS CONTRIBUTOR

Michael Silverman

Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery, specializes in the rehabilitation of runners and other performance athletes.  He has a special interest in running-form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.

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