Trail running is a great way to spice up your running routine by getting a little closer to nature! However, trails are hardly ever forgiving. Often, they are teeming with treacherous inclines and declines, switchbacks, hairpin turns, fallen trees and branches, and errant rocks looking to sideline you. A review of 22 various studies regarding trail runners revealed that the most vulnerable anatomical sites to injury on the trail are the plantar foot, ankle, Achilles tendon, knee and lower back.1
Stability is the act of preventing excessive movement at a joint in order to prevent injury to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Our ankles and hips are extremely mobile and demand sufficient stability to handle running on rugged terrain. If you have any weaknesses in your ankle/hip stabilizer muscles, you will likely be prone to an injury at some point in your trail running career due to gait deficits that overstress the low back, hip, knee and ankle.
The following exercises are designed to help bulletproof your core, hips and ankles in order to take on any challenges the trail may throw your way! Exercises should be performed 3-4 times a week.
Keep the following pointers in mind for when you hit the trails to help keep yourself healthy:
A major finding of one study of 40 ultramarathon trail runners by Malliaropoulos & Tsaklis was that, “An individualized training program (schedule) designed by a professional was found to be associated with less injury compared with an empirical training schedule (based on personal experience) suggests having a training program designed by professionals as a protective factor against injury.2” A physical therapist is a qualified professional for making such a program. Schedule a free assessment with one of our endurance specialists today to help prevent and treat injury on and off the trail!
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Oosthuizen IA et al. “Common Ultramarathon Trail Running Injuries And Illnesses: A Review.” International Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, 11(4), April 2019, pp. 36-42.
2. Malliaropoulos N & Tsaklis PV. “Prevalence of Injury in Ultra Marathon Trail Running.” Human Movement, 16(2), June 2015, pp 52-59.