With the Louisville Triple Crown running series and Mini-marathon upon us, the very common overuse injuries that runners experience are starting to rear their ugly heads. I’ve been seeing a lot of shin splints, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee), and lower extremity muscle strains lately. What a lot of people don’t know is that these injuries can be prevented in a few simple ways.
First, let’s go over the anatomy of what’s going on when we have these issues. Overused muscles are the culprit for a lot of these conditions. A muscle becomes overused in three ways:
-Acute injuries (pulls, tears, collisions, etc.)
– Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
– Not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)
So now the question is: “How do I keep these things from occurring?” One major key to this answer is to make a foam roller or “The Stick” part of your everyday warm-up and cool-down routine.
The foam roller (pictured above on the left) is a form of myofascial release that increases blood flow and oxygen to the treated area which will prepare the muscle for activity. Post-run, rolling will help flush out any inflammation that has occurred during activity and prevent adhesion or scar tissue from forming on overused tissue.
“The Stick” (pictured above on the right) works similarly to the foam roller and might be a little easier for transport and on-the-go treatment.
Taking 5 or 10 minutes a day to roll or stick your muscles will go a long way in preventing these very common overuse injuries.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section.