The alarm clock rings and you are ready to start your new training program. Everything is in order, you are motivated, you have a training regiment and you even found a group of like-minded people just as eager as you. Most likely, the last concern on your mind is what steps should I take to keep myself injury free throughout the exercise program. Here are a common exercise injuries and ways to prevent injuries:
Shin splints are one of the most common overuse injuries related to increasing exercise demand without giving the body time to adapt. Typically shin splints occur in runners; however, can be seen in other sports that have a high amount of pounding on a hard surface. This excessive pounding causes a breakdown of tissue between the tibia bone and its surrounding connective tissue. The pain will present between the knee and ankle located on shinbone. Easing into a high volume exercise program along with making sure your feet are equipped with a supportive shoe are two key things to avoid shin splints.
Another common overuse injury is a stress fracture. This hairline fracture will present slowly and may not show on an x-ray up to two to three weeks. In the foot and ankle, one of the most common locations of a stress fracture is the neck of the second metatarsal. Again, the key to prevention is easing into the exercise program along with supportive shoes appropriate for the activity you are undertaking.
Muscle strains and tears are another common injury related to exercise and training. The severity depends on the extent of the injury. There are partial tears all the way to complete ruptures of the muscle along with a simple strain, often referred to as a “pulled muscle”. To avoid muscular injuries it is pivotal to warm-up and cool-down appropriately. In addition, stretching after a workout will aid in muscle recovery.
Spending the time to prevent injury will save you from pain and time treating it. A few more keys to remember:
- Select a program that is appropriate for your current physical status
- Give you body time to recover
- Make sure your shoes fit and are appropriate for the activity
- Wear clean dry socks to prevent blisters
The take home message is this: Take the time to listen to your body. Starting an exercise program is exciting and should be; however, having to stop early due to a preventable injury is not. If you notice any changes in your foot health please consider making an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.