Saint Peter’s Better Health

Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

Whether you run to win races, to train for another sport, to lose weight, or for the joy of it, running can be tough on your body. You can wind up with stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and just plain sore feet and knees.

Up to 70 percent of runners develop injuries every year. But these training suggestions can help keep many injuries at bay:

  • Choose your running shoes carefully. Make sure they provide good shock absorption and strong support. A shoe with a stiff heel counter (the part at the back of the heel above the sole) gives you more rear foot control, which can help keep your foot and ankle from rolling. Never run a race in new shoes and always tie your laces tight.
  • Replace worn shoes. Be sure to get new ones after 500 miles of use, that’s about every eight months if you run 2 or more miles a day.
  • Run on a track or other soft surface. This will help decrease the pounding to your feet and legs. Avoid running on a slanted surface.
  • Warm up before you run and cool down afterward. Stretch both before and after you run. Include stretches for your calves, thighs, and hamstrings.
  • Begin your running sessions with a slow walk. Progress to a slow jog before you pick up speed.
  • Use proper technique. Avoid overstriding or taking too wide a stride by having your feet land beneath your hips. Keep your shoulders back and your hands lightly cupped. Avoid clenching your fists. Maintain your elbows at a 90-degree angle, close to your body.
  • Increase your running time, distance, and intensity gradually. Take off one or two days a week. Doing so will allow your body time to recover.

Despite doing everything right, you might come down with an injury. These tips may help you recover:

  • Apply ice if you have swelling. Use heat if there is minimal swelling over an area that needs increased circulation.
  • Switch to nonweight-bearing exercises. Swimming and bike riding are good alternatives.
  • Perform stretching and strengthening exercises. A physical therapist or sports medicine specialist can provide an appropriate regimen, depending on your injury.

If you develop any recurring pain in your legs, knees, or feet from running, consult your doctor for treatment options.


© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.