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Jun 04, 2024

What Can You Do To Prevent Running Injuries? 

A female runner in a neon tanktop stops on the trail, holding her knee from a running injury, she could have benefited from what can you do to prevent running injuries

What can you do to prevent running injuries? If you love to run or find it to be a critical component of your workout, an injury can sideline you for quite some time. If you don’t take the time to heal and recover, that could lead to more injuries that may prevent you from running. The better option is to invest in some running injury prevention.

Common Running Injuries

Running injuries come in a variety of forms. Some of the most common include:

  • Blister development, often due to improper shoes
  • Shin pain, which often causes pain from inflammation to the tendons and muscles in the shin area
  • Skin injuries could include falls and scrapes, but also sunburn from poor protection
  • Soft tissue injuries, which often include pulled muscles or ligament sprains
  • Runner’s knee, a condition that develops with dull pain centered around the front of the knee
  • IT band syndrome, which often feels like a burning, aching sensation on the outside of the knee and up to the hip
  • Plantar fasciitis, pain at the bottom of the heel, often felt after activity but not during your running
  • Stress fractures, which often feel like a pain or aching that gets worse over time

Don’t overlook any of these injuries, and be sure to take steps to prevent all of them from occurring. You don’t want to put off an ache or pain that ends up leading to a major injury, such as an ACL tear. Often, getting in to see a physical therapist or doctor sooner can help you to avoid complications like this.

How to Prevent Running Injuries from Occurring

Running injury prevention starts with knowledge. The more you do now to protect your skin, bones, ligaments, and muscles, the better.

The female runner is taking steps to practice running injury prevention

Don’t try to run a marathon as a first step

Prepare your body one step at a time. As you begin to run, work to slowly progress the length and intensity of your run. This allows your body to adjust to what’s occurring. If you’re not used to a lot of physical activity, start slowly with just a few minutes per day until you reach your goals.

Exercise and stretch first

There are numerous exercises for runners that are designed to stretch muscles before a run and a few more to do after a run. These prevent injuries by helping your body prepare for what’s to come. Spend a few minutes before every run working on stretching.

Prepare your body for what’s to come. For example, know that there’s a difference if you need to run in the cold and running in the warmer months. Be sure your body is hydrated, too, both before and after your run.

Give your muscles what they need to recover after a run

There are many types of injuries that benefit from physical therapy after they occur. You can do a lot after a run to help soothe your muscles, too. That includes using ice and heat, over-the-counter pain medications, and massage therapy. Even if you’re not in pain, using a foam roller or massage gun can offer some prevention of further injury and downtime.

What to Do if You Get Injured

There are times when you will feel pain that doesn’t improve, whether it’s acute or a dull ache. Don’t ignore it. In any situation where you have extensive pain that limits your ability to walk or move properly, turn to the local emergency room or your family doctor for your initial help. This will prevent long-term injuries.

Don’t be afraid, though, to get help from a specialist when you need more extensive injury treatment. For example, an ACL injury can dramatically impact your quality of life, and the sooner you get started on the healing process with a professional, the better. If you’re hurt, get help from a professional who can support your recovery.

When Should You See a Physical Therapist?

So, when do you go in to see a physical therapist then? There are a few times when you can use a physical therapist – and you should never feel like you cannot call them to inquire about your treatment options or support.

Before an injury

Whether you are prone to injury or want to get the most out of every run you take, turn to a physical therapist before you start running routinely. These professionals will help you to create a prevention plan that incorporates stretching and muscle protective movements to minimize risk. They can help you to correct your gait and posture to minimize injury later. A physical therapist will provide you with individualized support in knowing how you can improve your body to minimize the risk of injury.

After an injury

You do not have to wait for your doctor to see a physical therapist. If you have a significant amount of pain, going to an ER as a first step makes sense. For most types of injuries, though, a physical therapist can be helpful. They can offer guidance and develop a plan to help you to recover in the best way possible. Often, their insight can help you to stay on the running path longer.

After a surgery

If you have to have surgery, such as an ACL repair, you may need to turn to a physical therapist later as you recover. They can help you to have extensive success in recovery, improving mobility, ensuring proper function, and giving you the confidence you need to get back out onto the track.

Turn to a Local Professional for Immediate Help.

What can you do to prevent running injuries from limiting you? Set up a time to speak to a physical therapist who can get you back on the right track. Find your clinic with Rock Valley Therapy today. With 61 locations, we are confident we can help you to get the care you need soon. Let’s work together to ensure you get the results you need.

The female runner is now back out after recieving physical therapy for her injury, she's running through the forest | running injury prevention