Now that the sun is getting closer to rising when you are, you might be ready to chase it. Without starting your runs off on the right foot, however, small errors could lead to big issues.
- Run softly. Runners can land with a force up to three times their body weight per step. Running with a quieter footfall reduces the load and decreases your risk of stress fractures. If you’re a loud runner, you might be landing with stiffened legs rather than using your joints as natural springs.
- Point your kneecaps “forward” when you run. Place one uniquely colored sticker on the center of each kneecap, then have your friend take a video in front of you while you run (so you can observe yourself frame by frame) or run on a treadmill in front of a mirror. If your knees tilt inwards or rotate inwards, your kneecaps are at risk of not tracking properly (patellofemoral syndrome), and your lower leg muscles are at risk of being overworked (shin splints). Improving your gluteal strength (e.g. side lying scissors) will pull your thighs outward and better align your knees between your hips and ankles.
- Keep “daylight” between your feet. If your steps are close enough to run on a tightrope, you are at an increased risk of IT band syndrome (excessive friction between your IT band and your knee) and patellofemoral syndrome. Running on dirt and reviewing your footprints, or having a friend take a video of your running, can identify whether you have at least a few inches between your heels.
- Land with your feet underneath. Overstriding to increase your speed can dramatically increase the impact on your joints. This also decreases your efficiency when you run. Landing with your heels in front of your hips (center of gravity) creates a "stop-start" motion with each step, leading to earlier muscle fatigue and alterations to your form.
- Finally, be sure to change your shoes every 300 miles or every six months, whichever comes first.
And if anything happens to make you hang up your shoes, give us a call, and we’ll get you back on your feet!
Get back to what you love! See a Sports Medicine expert in Orthopedics by calling 425-339-5447.