Running Injuries: How You Can Stop Them Before They Start or Get Worse - Perseverance Movement Specialists & Pilates
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Running Injuries: How You Can Stop Them Before They Start or Get Worse

Running Injury

Many people are concerned about developing knee pain as they start a running routine, increase their mileage to reach training or competition goals. Runners tend to find themselves in need of Physical Therapy frequently.

The annual injury rate for runners can be as high as 66%! Although running can be as easy as throwing on a pair of shoes and dashing out the door…….it requires more of our bodies than we often prepare ourselves for and ultimately pain and injuries surface sooner or later.

High level athletes can manage the demands of running because they incorporate focused strengthening, stretching and bodywork. As intensity, frequency, and duration of runs increase it becomes increasingly important to make sure you are adequately recovering and building upon a strong foundation of strength and flexibility. As runners increase their mileage their schedules leave little time for any other form of essential exercise, when they make this mistake unfortunately they end up stopped by pain and injury.

If you are currently not doing any leg strengthening exercises, there is no better time than the present, especially if you are just beginning or have training or milage goals in the future.

Strengthening exercises that focus on your; core, glutes, quads and hamstrings are critical. I tend to prefer functional exercises that simulate the movements you want to perform(if you can tolerate them painfree).
(*Tips: Wear shoes that have good arch support when performing the squats will decrease the collapse of the arches of your feet and knees falling inward. Using a mirror to check your form can be helpful. I am a big advocate of using visual, tactile and verbal cues to ensure precision of movement to maximize benefit.)

Double Leg Squat:

  • Stand with you feet hips distance apart facing the mirror
  • Tighten your abs throughout entire movement
  • With control bend you knees, hinging at your hips as you lower your seat down
  • You do NOT have to squat deep- STOP before knee pain, your hips should not go below your knees(you can place a chair behind you to gage your appropriate depth)
  • Keep your knees centered under your hips and over your feet
  • If your knees collapse in or fall out you need to make your squat more shallow or squeeze your glute muscles more
  • As you stand back up power through and engage your quads & glutes.

*Try 2 sets of 10 repetitions to start(then progress to 15 reps). Slow, controlled and with purpose.

2. Single leg squat

  • Perform exactly as you did for the double leg squat.
  • A single leg squat is more challenging.
  • You will most likely find you can not go as far down before your knee starts to waver without control, so stay in your pain-free controlled range of movement
  • You may require the assistance of a stable countertop to maintain your balance

*Try 2 sets of 10 repetitions to start(then progress to 15 reps). Slow, controlled and with purpose.

3. Chicken wings

  • Lie on your side with your back against a wall to aligned you back and spine.
  • Stacking your hips, knees and ankles over each other.
  • Bend your knees, allowing for a 90 degree bend at the knees, you can adjust relative to the comfort of you knee and hip joint.
  • Engage your core, pull the side of your waist that is on the floor up to align your spine.(or you can put a small towel roll under the arch of your waist to give support and tactile feedback.
  • Keeping your heels together lift your top knee up and then lower it down slow and controlled, at a pace of 1-2-3 up and 1-2-3 down to target the gluts(lateral hip stabilizers).

*Try 3 sets of 12 reps to start, then 2 sets of 25 reps, goal is 1 set of 50 reps.(these muscles are your hip stabilizers and we want to target their endurance)
*(EVERYONE needs to DO some variation of hip stabilizing exercises- daily. I don’t miss a day in order to keep me healthy, running, strengthening and pain & injury free!)

Stretching: Flexibility of the hip flexors, quads, glutes, hamstring and calves will also increase your ability to stay pain and injury free.

They key to theses exercises if FORM and QUALITY over repetition. If you are short on time rushing through them will yield no benefit. I cannot stress enough the importance of the strength of your; core, glutes, hip stabilizers, quads and hamstrings to keep you safely running, and in all other areas of your daily life.

BONUS! These exercises will help keep your back healthy too!

Have any unanswered questions or want help to ensure you can stay pain and injury free as you work toward your running goals? Please give us a call here to request a FREE phone consultation with our Specialist Physical Therapist, or call us here, (805) 941-0125.

Is knee pain keeping you from doing the things you love? We also have a special  Tips Sheet: “Top 10 Tips to Prevent Running Injuries” that is currently FREE that will provide you with more ways to ease knee pain right now.(Bonus: Video of Best Stretch to do before & after Runs…..)

Yvonne Castillo

Yvonne Castillo

Dr. Yvonne Castillo is one of Santa Barbara’s leading Movement Specialists who helps active adults become more active, fit, active and independent so they live the life they love without fear, limitation and having to depend on painkillers or procedures. ​ Every day people consult Yvonne looking for the guidance to get them back to their active lifestyles faster and permanently. She helps them understand and address their current performance limitations, individual risk factors and weak links, prevent injury, avoid loss of mobility, flexibility, strength, stability and balance, avoid surgery and protect against falls, slow decline of their independence or the steady increase in aches, pains, stiffness, loss of energy or confidence in their ability to be active like they truly desire to be.​

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