THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF INJURY PREVENTION
“If you have an existing injury, DO allow it to heal first before you start running, or the compensation from other parts of your body may result in injuries to other areas,” advises Dr Lee.
If you have pre-existing medical or joint problems, DON’T take up running until you’ve consulted a doctor, says Dr Lee. “This is particularly important if you’ve previously had irregular heartbeats or heart problems. Also, DO consult a doctor if someone in your family has previously had a serious heart problem when they were young.”
While flexibility ensures that your body can take the movement and stresses applied to it while running, it’s important that you DON’T overstretch, says Dr Lee. “Avoid doing too much stretching and flexibility exercises just before you start your exercise, as it can actually predispose you to injuries.” DO think about different running surfaces when you run. “Hard concrete will transmit more force into your ankles, knees and hips compared to softer running surfaces,” says Dr Lee. “This is important if you already have existing joint problems.”
DO invest in a foam roller and use it daily, says Máire. “As a new runner, this will be your new best friend! Due to the repetitive nature of running, your muscles will start to get tight due to fascia tightness, which can eventually lead to joint pain, or general aches and pains.” Foam rolling after long runs can help soothe tight fascia, increase circulation and help improve range of motion.
Different running styles stress different parts of the body. So, if you decide to change your running style, DO gradually make the change so that your body can adjust to the new stresses placed upon it, says Dr Lee. “Otherwise, you may predispose yourself to bony stress injuries or other tendon issues.”