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Running form Training tips

Running Form – The Injured Runner

Runner’s come in many shapes, sizes and styles. One running form does not fit all people nor does it guarantee superior performance or freedom from injury. However, knowing some basic concepts can help you get the most out of your running experience. To keep it simple we like to use the acronym LARS. As you are running down the street or along a trail experiment with these concepts. It will take time to become proficient, but it is definitely worth your time.

Lean

Running is a series of controlled falls. By keeping your center of gravity slightly forward you move forward more naturally and with less energy. Stand tall and sense where the pressure in your foot is. For most people you will feel more pressure in the heel area. Now, keeping your body completely straight lean forward about 1inch pivoting at your ankle and keeping your body straight. You should now feel pressure towards the front or ball of your foot. This is the slight forward lean you should maintain while running.

Alignment

Keep the front of your knee positioned in line with the center of your foot. Your knee is designed to function primarily like a hinge. As runners fatigue or become inattentive to their form their knees may rotate or drift inward excessively and put extra strain on the knee. This extra strain leads to many injuries including: runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, shin splints and stress fractures.

Have a friend record you at the end of a run or race. You may be surprised to see how much your knees drift inward. Gluteal strengtghening and balance training are the best ways to improve the fitness of the muscles that control inward motion.

Relax

Allow your hands, shoulders and face to relax while running. Relaxation of these areas will conserve energy and allow for more fluid movement of your body.

Soft

Envision yourself as Pocahontas lightly running through the forest as opposed to King Kong stomping through New York City. Running on a treadmill is the best way to sense your impact because it is much easier to hear. You may be tempted to prance on your toes but that will quickly cause foot and heel pain. Focus on a soft, full shoe contact.

Remember, improving your running form takes time. By remembering the simple acronym LARS you can spend a few minutes during each running to give your running form a tune up.

Happy running!

Categories
Recovery

is it safe to run with a hangover 101?

facts of alcohol

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably had a bit too much to drink and are working out is it safe to run with a hangover?

So let’s start with the facts. The more alcohol you drank and the later into the night you drank it, will reflect on the ability to exercise the next day.

is it safe to run with a hangover

If you can, work out how many units of alcohol you drank, because that will give you some idea as to when it’s out of your system. It takes approx one hour for one unit of alcohol to be processed by the body.

is it a good idea?

Some of the negative effects of alcohol mean a hangover isn’t a great help with running. You may have had less sleep, and thus be lacking in energy or balance – which could put you at chance of injury.

You could be dehydrated from the alcohol and risk further dehydration from the sweat you lose running. Dehydration also means your pulse is higher. Running will of course raise your pulse further. Your metabolism will be trying to clear the alcohol in your system, and so may not be in the in the best condition to cope with a run.

how to decide is it safe to run with a hangover for you.

Really, this all depends on how you feel. If you’ve just got a headache then your risks are low. If however you feel sick or have a racing heart-rate, it makes sense to delay or cancel your run for today.

To improve your health to make a run possible – drink as much water as possible, and take water with you when you run. Eating will also help counter the low blood sugar that comes from drinking.

is it safe to run with a hangover? Depends how hungover you are. So use the markers listed here alongside your common sense. There is always tomorrow.

other posts we think you might like
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Foot injuries stretches

Plantar Fasciitis treatment – 6 easy ideas to try at home!

Plantar Fasciitis treatment

Plantar Fasciitis is painful and we are here to offer some easy to do at home plantar fasciitis treatment.

what is the plantar fascia

The term literally means inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of rigid tissue that extends from your heel to your toes. The function of this fascia is to help your foot transition from the shock absorption phase (heel contact to foot being flat) to becoming a rigid lever for push off as the heel rises and the toes bend.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common and troublesome injuries among runners. It is characterized by pain in the heel and / or arch. You will often feel the pain with the first few steps in the morning or when beginning to walk after sitting for a while.

Initially, the pain may ease as you warm up into your run. If you have a mild case you can usually continue training, a more stubborn case needs rest.

stretching as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Lots of stretching! Research has demonstrated that the plantar fascia stretch is more effective than calf stretches. In our experience it is essential to perform the plantar fascia stretch, as well as the bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day.

Also, perform a non-weight bearing calf stretch before walking or getting out of bed (as much as practically possible). By improving calf flexibility there will be less strain on the plantar fascia.

ice massage as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Ice massage is a very effective way to help reduce your pain. A good and easy ice massage technique is to use a frozen water bottle or orange. Place the bottle / orange on the floor and roll it under your foot until the bottom of your foot goes numb.

The orange is nice because the massage is a little more focused and the bottle is nice because it is very cold.

self massage for plantar fasciitis

Self-massage can also be quite helpful, especially before getting out of bed or before a run.

We prefer a technique where you use the heel of your hand to massage across the arch while flexing the big toe with your other hand.

If you prefer you can use inexpensive massage balls – designed for this very purpose, like this one. 

Using insoles as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) may be able to position the foot in a way that reduces strain on the plantar fascia.

The insoles can relieve the pressure of the heel, improve the bad functioning of the foot and reduce stress and stretch the ligament of plantar fasciitis that is the cause of discomfort.

Insoles like these from Dr Scholl – a market leader in these kind of products – are inexpensive and can be used in almost any type of footwear.

go barefoot!

Try walking barefoot in grass or on sand for 2-4 minutes after the initial painful period has subsided. This technique can be helpful to progress to the next level. This works for a couple of reasons…

First, walking on soft grass genlty bends and twists your foot stretching in ways that help workout tight muscles in the foot. Second, the gentle bending and twisting also strengthens the small muscles in the foot.

A strong butt

Bum strengthening exercises are important because you will lose strength in the gluteal muscles since you cant push off as firmly. This may lead to other injuries down the road (no pun intended).

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A final consideration: Some arthritic conditions may have similar symptoms to plantar fasciitis. We would recommend that you talk to your doctor if you are concerned about this.

Good luck with your plantar fasciitis treatment and recovery!

other posts we think could help
  • How about more on stretching to solve the problem?
  • Self massage is a free and easy thing to try. Learn more here.
  • Our general principles of recovery information is a good basis for all running recovery.
Categories
Core training

Kettlebell Training for Runners – discover it with The Injured Runner

Kettlebell Training for runners. 

Athletes across the globe are discovering the benefits of kettlebell training. Kettlebell training was initially developed for use by elite Russian athletes can you believe- skyrocketing their performance at international competitions.

ambitious-creative-co-rick-barrett-em7uz8_qmzg-unsplash

However runners can now benefit from the dynamic training approach unique to kettlebell training.

This dynamic training approach is being used by mixed martial artists, professional football teams, track and field athletes, Navy SEALS, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and now runners.

Run Better!

Run Faster!

Run Stronger!

Run Balanced!

The design of the kettlebell, with its handle and suspended body, increases angular momentum with swinging motions. No other form of conditioning can provide the dynamic effect of kettlebell training.

Most strength training approaches are relatively static but not kettlebell training. Running athletes, Navy SEALs and firefighters are engaged in dynamic activities making kettlebell training a perfect match.

Categories
Hip injuries

Hip Flexor Strain treatment – 3 things to try today

Hip Flexor Strain is a muscle strain felt in the front part of the hip. It is often associated with speed training or compensating for another injury, especially Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

In this post we will look at hip flexor strain treatments and getting you back on track and pain free.

To see if you have strained your hip flexor muscle try the following maneuver: while standing, flex your hip such that your knee comes up towards the chest, then have a friend apply moderate pressure to pull the knee down while you resist. This test should result in pain similar to your symptoms.

Three Hip flexor strain treatments

Now, you may be able to run just fine at slower speeds and shorter distances, but as the distance or speed increases; watch out – it can bite. Be sure to fully recover before resuming progressive training. Don’t rush to cover more distance – just keep working on pain free running.

hip flexor strain

1. Gentle stretching of the hip flexor muscles usually accelerates healing. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, repeat three times, and perform this routine two to three times per day.

2. Check to see if your hip pain could be from compensating for decreased calf strength. In order to do this – perform twenty to thirty heel raises while standing on one leg and then compare to the other leg. If there is a substantial difference then work on strengthening the calf muscles

3. Trunk strengthening is essential, especially for more chronic injuries. The hip flexors attach to the spine and will perform optimally with good trunk strength. The hip flexors propel us forward as we run and must be balanced by well conditioned trunk muscles.

Categories
Knees

Runners Knee recovery- 8 ideas to try today

Runners knee recovery. If you’ve found this post it’s because you are suffering from some knee pain when running or walking. Runners knee is a general term for pain around the kneecap or patella. Symptoms in this region vary widely from being a low-grade annoyance to a complete inability to run. runners knee  treatments

The cause is also somewhat unknown. Some theorize that the pain is due to a misalignment of the knee cap. Misalignment is thought to be due to weak inner thigh muscles and tight outer thigh tissue or IT band.

However we are in the business of looking at runners knee recovery, and have rounded up 10 ideas to try on your recovery journey.

Treatments such as knee braces or taping to change the position of the patella have been used to theoretically minimize the misalignment. These treatments do seem to improve knee function, however, MRIs performed while tape is applied has not shown a change in the alignment of the kneecap. Additionally, the model that the back of the kneecap is the source of the pain is questionable since there are very few, if any pain receptors in this area.

8 ways to help runners knee recovery

  1. butt strenghtening! Yes you heard us right. Research is showing that strengthening of the butt muscles to improve the biomechanics of the entire leg is the most likely way to improve your knee pain. Test yourself by standing on one leg and squatting half way down 5 times. If you can keep your knee centered over your foot while squatting then you have good gluteal function. If your knees wobble or moves inward you should focus on gluteal strengthening.
  2. Stretching. A good stretching regime is is often helpful for runner’s knee. Give extra attention to the hamstrings, calf muscles and quadriceps.
  3. Balance training.  This is an essential component of any knee rehabilitation program. Balance training restores your body’s coordination so that when you run your knee alighment is optimal.
  4. Running form can have a dramatic effect on knee pain, especially if your knees roll in when you run. Improve running form if this is the case.
  5. Try insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) which may be able to support the foot in a way that reduces strain on the knee.
  6.  A knee brace that has a cut out for the kneecap and a way to adjust pressure on the kneecap can be helpful. Most runners also prefer a cut out region in the back of the brace. Adjust the pull on the kneecap until you find a position that cuts down your pain when you run. You should start by adjusting the brace to pull the kneecap inward, then try inward and upward or inward and downward. I have even had some patients that prefer the brace to pull the kneecap outward. If the brace is going to help, you should notice some improvement immediately. Try not to wear the brace all day. It will probably be more beneficial if it is worn when you are more active.
  7. A physical therapist can perform an evaluation to specifically assess strength, flexibility, balance, etc and design an appropriate program for you. They may also try taping techniques that can provide more specific pressure around the kneecap.
  8. Glucosamine has become popular in the management of knee arthritis. In my experience it can also help for “Runner’s Knee”. The recommended dosage is 1500 mg per day. Currently there are no known side effects and some indication that it may slow cartilage degeneration. *check with your doc.

we hope this advice helps with a swift and lasting runners knee recovery

other posts we think might help:
  • our general advice for recovery is always worth a read here.
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Uncategorized

Privacy Policy – The Injured Runner

Shipping Policy

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We are absolutely commited to your satisfaction. If you are not completely satisfied with your product contact us within 60 days and we will completely refund your payment amount.

PrivacyPolicy

This is the web site of The Injured Runner.

Our postal address is
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If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact The DMA’s Committee on Ethical Business Practices at mgoldberger@the-dma.org, state or local chapters of the Better Business Bureau, The Federal Trade Commission by phone at 202.FTC-HELP (202.382.4357) or electronically at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm.

Categories
Knees Leg injuries

IT Band – The Injured Runner

IT Band Syndrome or Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is a condition that results in pain on the outer side of the knee. The iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue along the outer side of the thigh. It attaches to the Tensor Fascia muscle on the front, outside area of the hip and the gluteus maximus muscle of the butt. As the IT band courses down the side of the leg it covers the boney area on the outside of your knee. Symptoms arise at the spot where the band rubs against the outer side of the knee joint.

Certain body mechanics and muscle imbalances may cause increased friction and result in symptoms. Initially, you will experience the pain only after running a certain distance and the pain will subside after the run. As symptoms progress, walking or going up and down stairs becomes painful and running is quite painful.

Treatments:

  • Recent research conducted on runners at Stanford University has shown promising results. These athletes performed a series of gluteal strengthening exercise. These muscles may help reduce strain on the and allow the area to function more efficiently.
  • Frequent stretching of the ITB and gluteal muscles can improve your symptoms.   Spend at least five to ten minutes twice per day working the area. There are several contortions described as ITB stretches. Try them all until you find a position that stretches the area near the pain.
  • Arch supports or orthotics (custom foot supports) may be able to support the foot in a way that reduces strain on the IT band. If you have a high arch you may benefit from an insole that provides more cushioning.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream could be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. Talk to your doctor about transdermal anti-inflammatories.
  • Deep tissue friction massage is a treatment that some brave (or desperate) runners try. There is actually a study that reported this type of treatment to be ineffective. However, we know runner’s that will tell you it made a difference for them – so you will have to make your own choice on that one.
Categories
Core training

Lower Back Pain – The Injured Runner

Lower Back Pain is probably the most common musculoskeletal condition afflicting humans. Estimates are as high as 50% of Americans are currently experiencing some back pain and 80% will experience it at some time.

Lower back pain can range from a mild annoyance to disabling. You may feel pain in the lower back, the gluteal area, or the entire leg. Generally, the more irritated your back is, the further down the leg symptoms are felt. The source of the pain can be from a disc, joint, ligament, nerve, muscle or any combination of these.

Most often, back pain is the result of accumulated stress and strain to the back and hence, to recover you need to take a good look at how you treat your back. If your back hurts after sitting for a long time, then limit sitting time and consider getting a better chair or support. If your back is sore in the morning after sleeping on that 15-year-old mattress, you may need to treat yourself to a new mattress. Did your symptoms get worse after lifting a fifty-pound bag of dog food? Then try better mechanics or get some assistance (or smaller bags).

As a runner, you may be more likely to experience pain after running downhill or running longer distances. These two situations tend to result in your back arching more than normal. Sometimes a slight shift in your running posture can improve this. Try to rotate your pelvis so that your back flattens slightly. You will find this technique easiest to learn while lying down. As you feel confident that you can flatten your back while lying down, try it while standing, and then while running. A little tilt can make a big difference. 

When you are seeking help for back pain it can be confusing to know what will work best for you – there is so much conflicting information. This is partly due to the complexity of the back and our individual variations.

There is some recent research that may help to direct your efforts. The idea is that there are basically four types of non-surgical treatments for lower back pain. You simply choose the category (listed below) that comes closest to matching your situation. You may find that you fit into more than one category or that over time your situation changes and you need to shift categories. If you don’t feel that any of these categories fits your situation you will probably get the most benefit from trying the “stabilization category”.

Specific Movement Category: Certain movements can have a beneficial effect on your symptoms. If you find that lying on your stomach and propping up on your elbows decreases the pain in your leg or the pain moves more centrally towards your back then perform several repetition of this movement. If your pain decreases or moves more centrally towards the back when you lie on your back and pull your knees towards your chest, then perform several repetitions. 

Treatment

  • Manipulation has probably been a method of treating backs since we began walking. Physicians (usually D.O.’s), physical therapists, chiropractors, spouses, hairdressers, and teammates have all joined in on the action, with varying degrees of success. There are several manipulation techniques and theories about them. What is known about this treatment is that a reflex muscle relaxation occurs following the “pop”. You will generally feel less tense and be able to move more freely because of the relaxation. The current research also indicates that there is no change in the position (alignment) of the spine after treatment. Get a good reference before seeking this treatment.

 

Categories
Core training

Core Training – The Injured Runner

Over the past five years core training has become the buzz word of the fitness world. But what exactly is your “core”? Your core consists of 29 pairs of muscles that synchronize to control the motion at your trunk. It is literally the foundation for your running machine – the control centre for running. Most core training or testing programs focus primarily on the abdominal muscles. While this is helpful, there is much more that can be done.

Core training will improve your running times, improve your running form, improve your running efficiency, reduce your risk of injury and speed recovery. Several studies have been published over the past 8 years that demonstrate the importance of core training in both recovering from injury and improving recovery. So, if you are currently injured view this as the perfect opportunity to either start a core training program or refine the program you currently use.

We recommend testing your core strength. When I test runners at my physical therapy clinic they are often amazed at the imbalances they have developed. Measuring your core fitness level will help you set goals, focus your training and monitor progress.

Should you use an exercise ball or enroll in a pilates program? Each of these approaches (and many more) have the potential to provide you with challenging exercises that will improve your core strength. However, if the program doesn’t train the four regions of core muscles (abs, back, right side, left side) you will be missing out.

Categories
Leg injuries Recovery Running form

Hamstring Tendonitis treatment – The Injured Runner

Hamstring Tendonitis is a pain that is felt on and just below the boney part of your butt that you sit on. The hamstring tendon attaches to this bone and can become painful. I have seen this develop after a runner stumbles and catches them self from falling forward. The hamstrings tighten to prevent the trunk from falling forward and may result in a pulled tendon in this area. Speed training can also lead to this condition especially if you have a running style where you run very erect and “pull” yourself forward with the hamstrings. So that’s why we are looking at hamstring tendonitis treatment – focusing on things you can try today!

Treatments

  • If you stumbled, ice application will be particularly helpful.
  • Running technique – if you heel strike during speed workouts you may want to consider altering your style to striking with the mid or forefoot.
  • Core Strengthening – try the plank position for a quick, all around program. These are even good enough for women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe who was photographed performing the side plank position.
  • Agility – sidestepping, grapevine, and sideways zipper (stepping forward and backward while moving sideways). Try three sets of one minute.
  • Single leg stand windmill touches – while standing on one leg, bend forward at the hip keeping your other leg in a straight line with your back, keep your arms out to the side and rotate your trunk so that your right hand would touch your right foot (or left to left). This exercise is excellent for balance, hamstring strengthening and flexibility.
  • Stretching – avoid direct stretching. Instead of standing and bending forward to touch your toes, slide your hips to the right and then bend forward. Next, slide your hips to the left and bend forward for the stretch.
  • Massage can helps speed recovery and promote proper healing.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream may help reduce the pain and inflammation.