Running has become an increasingly popular activity for exercise among people of all ages. In fact, 60 million people within the United States participate in some form of running activity each year. People participate in running activities for numerous reasons including: improving fitness, weight concerns, running a race/competition, staying healthy, and having fun. Running for 5 – 10 minutes per day has shown to decrease the risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Running less than 50 minutes per week has also shown to reduce the risk of death from heart disease when compared to individuals who don’t participate in running at all. While running has many benefits, about 50% of people get injured each year from running. Running injuries can be caused by poor running technique, reduced strength and flexibility, improper footwear, as well as overuse.
Achilles pain or injury can prevent itself in the form of tendinopathy (i.e. tendinitis or tendinosis), or the more critical Achilles tendon tear or rupture. The Achilles tendon is the tendon to the gastroc and soleus, which together are known as the calf muscles. The role of a tendon is to transfer the force from the contracting muscle to the intended joint of movement. Together these muscles plantarflex the ankle joint, or point the foot downwards. This action creates the force needed to push the ground away and help propel the body forwards (or upwards) when we are walking, running, or jumping. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, and the gastroc and soleus are the primary ankle plantar flexor muscles.
I don’t have to be the first to tell you that this has been a tough year for everyone emotionally, mentally and physically. Sticking to a healthy routine has never been more important. Throughout the last year, running has always been an outlet for me. Through tough, lonely, and cold days where it was an effort to even get out of the house, running has always put my mind and body at ease, providing stress relief and happiness, even if for a short period of time.
Congratulations! You graduated from physical therapy! Although you may have gone there feeling injured, you are now slowly returning to your normal, active self. As you finish your sessions, it is important to get clearance on returning to running. Your physical therapist can help you determine a realistic running goal to make sure the two of you are on the same page.
Perhaps running is one of your fitness goals for the New Year and why not – it’s a great way to maintain your fitness, relatively inexpensive and something you can easily do as we remain socially distant in the current pandemic. Whether you are completely new to running or just picking it up after a couple year hiatus, we’ve got some tips to help you get started!
As a runner, I have been extremely fortunate to not have any major injuries over the ten years that I’ve been participating in this recreational activity. It’s become a passion and recently, a form of therapy to help curb stress and keep me active during the COVID-19 pandemic. This past summer, I completed many virtual runs – from 5Ks to half marathons. In November, I completed a 15K and was shocked when I started to feel pain and a “popping” in my hip.
Fast forward to the New Year, I’ve committed to investing in my health and decided to get this long-standing problem checked out and more importantly, not wanting to re-injure myself the next time I take off on a long run. Knowing Athletico offers a Free Assessment at no cost and not needing a doctor’s referral to start, I went to my local clinic and this is what happened.
The running landscape has changed quite a bit as a result of the global pandemic. Running a marathon, even virtually, is perhaps one of the most challenging accomplishments that a person may embark on in their lifetime, requiring both physical and mental strength. During training and on race day, physical limitations are pushed to the brink via muscular and respiratory fatigue. Mental willpower is tested as oftentimes you keep going when everything else in your body is telling you to “stop.” Preparation is paramount for success in running a marathon, and though choosing a correct endurance plan and running group is important, there are other components that will help you run your next 26.2-mile journey with even greater success.
Running is a demanding activity, both physically and mentally. Thirty to seventy five percent of runners are hurt annually. But why? Shoe wear, stretching, biomechanics, weight and muscle imbalance can all be contributing factors in running-related injuries. A common reason for injuries in runners is repetition. Recent studies have shown multi-sport athletes have improved longevity of sport and reduced risk for injury due to variation. One simple way to reduce injury risk for runners is cross-training. Cross-training is a form of exercise, which utilizes a variety of different training mechanisms to improve physical fitness. Runners utilize cross-training for injury prevention and rehabilitation, a change of pace and increased physical fitness.