Running Away From InjuriesPatient Experience
Feb 4, 2015
By Dr. Nata Salvatori
Do you know someone who has trained really hard for a race, only to hurt themselves right before the event? What about someone who went from watching TV all week to running a 5K, only to find themselves at the doctor’s office with an injury?
Unfortunately these stories are more common than we would like to admit. There are three basic things that can cause an injury to an athlete: training error, biomechanical issues, and improper gear. All of these causes can present by themselves or as a combination.
These include issues with frequency, intensity, rest break, running surfaces, etc. The body is unable to adapt to the severe demands place on it if intensity or frequency are too high and rest is inadequate. Your body will eventually fail and injury can happen.
It’s important to understand the different ways your body moves. Athletes often train for strength and flexibility, but a huge part of movement is motor control and coordination. It does not matter how strong your muscle is if it does not know when to turn on or where to go!
The most common gear mistakes runners make are related to shoes. Proper foot support is the foundation of good running. Color and style make a shoe attractive, but support and structure make it wearable. Do you need arch support? Do you need a more flexible or more rigid shoe? Any heel lifts? Wide or narrow toe box? Shoe specialists and physical therapists can help you with these decisions.
If you run into an issue during your training, make sure to look for a Sports Specialized Physical Therapist. They are trained on the mechanics of the body during sport activities and are knowledgeable about training principles and equipment. Together you can develop a routine for training that is optimal to you as an individual and will help achieve your goals.
Dr. Nata Salvatori is a physical therapist and the manager of the Brooks Center for Sports Therapy. In addition she is an Adjunct Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of North Florida and serves as a mentor to the Brooks/UNF Orthopaedic Residency and Fellowship Program.