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How To Prevent Running Injuries

Recreational runners risk injury with fun runs: Top tips to prevent injury this running season

With Spring and warmer weather comes the running season, and cities all over Australia play host to fun runs and marathon events, such as the Sydney Running Festival on 20 September.  However every year, recreational enthusiasts run the risk of injury by not preparing properly. Common problems such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain and shin splints are just some of the issues that affect runners after a marathon, but all of these complications may be avoided by a visit to a podiatrist.

The benefits of running on health are numerous, but the downside is that jumping in without proper precautions can cause foot and leg pain.  Many people don’t recognise that this pain left untreated can result in long lasting injury, and become counter to maintaining their active lifestyle.

Sydney Sports Podiatrist, Karl Lockett says, “At least half a million Australians experience foot pain of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives. Often, it is brought on by a “too hard too soon” approach to exercise, such as with running.

“To avoid injury when preparing for a fun run or marathon, education is the best form of prevention. A trip to your podiatrist prior to training can identify what your individual situation is with your feet, through various checks such as cameras and treadmill tests. A preventative or intervention program may then include altering or adjusting running style, devising a stretching routine, guidance towards buying the correct running shoes, and perhaps providing orthotics,” says Karl.

A keen runner himself, Karl has relatively flat feet and frequently sees this issue in runners with foot pain.

“Many people have flat feet, which is not weak foot muscles but hyper-mobile ligaments, and this is genetic. Hence you need intervention, as you cannot strengthen ligaments with foot exercises. Again, this is something your podiatrist can identify and treat for you before it becomes a problem during training for a fun run or marathon,’ adds Karl.

Sports Podiatrist Karl Lockett’s top tips to avoid injury this running season:

  • Visit your podiatrist for assessment prior to commencing your training
  • Know your foot’s pronation – i.e. how much you roll inwards.  Your podiatrist can assess this and then determine the type of running shoes you need
  • Replace any shoes that have worn heels
  • If necessary, use shoe inserts fitted by your podiatrist to support your feet
  • Always warm up and cool down before exercise. Make your stretches slow and sustained
  • Start low and go slow. Allow your body to adjust to using certain muscles more
  • Rest and repair between training days – remember to keep stretching tight muscles
    ·         Hills will strain your calf muscles, so if they are part of your training, stretching becomes even more important
  • Your muscles are depleted of trace elements the more you exercise. Try replenishing tired muscles with endurance drinks and maintain a nutrient-rich diet
  • On race day, don’t forget to cool down properly after you cross the finish line – only then are you ready to celebrate!

With proper preparation, participants can keep the ‘fun’ in ‘fun run’ this season, and enjoy all the health benefits of being active and running without injury.

About Karl Lockett

Karl Lockett is a Sports Podiatrist and leading specialist for heel pain. Karl’s treatments go beyond standard orthotics, and he is one of the few specialists to offer shock wave therapy to stimulate healing, as well as dry needling, taping and immobilisation boots. In 2012 Karl Lockett was invited to the Sports Medicine Australia members seminar to speak to fellow podiatrists on the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain. Following this, he became a full member of Sports Medicine Australia and the Australian Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

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