Tag Archives: injury prevention

Stay in Shape While Recovering From an Injury

By Elizabeth Magill

Dealing with an injury that requires rest–no matter for how long–can seem like an eternity.  If you’re fitness-conscious as well, you’ll be concerned about staying in shape during your recovery. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations you can do it by focusing on strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance during your downtime.

Here are 10 tips to help you stay fit while recovering.

1. Start with R.I.C.E.

If your injury is sports-related, a sprain, strain, knee injury, fracture, dislocation, or an injury of the Achilles tendon, treatment should begin with the R.I.C.E. method, an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. R.I.C.E helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain, especially during the early phase of the injury. The R.I.C.E. treatment also helps your injury heal faster, enabling you to get back to your previous fitness regime more quickly.

2. Communicate with your doctor

Whatever exercise you do, do it under your doctor’s supervision. Your physician will keep you apprised of what you’re ready for, and what you need to hold off on, so that you don’t re-injure yourself.

3. Listen to your body

In addition to listening to your doctor, listen to your body. It will let you know when you’re exercising too much or pushing too hard. Overdoing it can hinder your ability to stay in shape while recovering from an injury. (more…)

Why You Should Strengthen Your Shins

By Sandra Hume

If you were asked to make a list of the muscles that were most important to take care of, your shins might not even make the top five, especially if they’ve never given you trouble.

But anyone who’s experienced shin pain knows all too well the importance of the bones between the knee and the ankle — the fibula and tibia — and specifically the muscles that attach to them.

In everyday life, shins play a pretty crucial role, says Robert Steigerwald, M.A., exercise physiologist and personal trainer in Huntington, NY. (Find him on Twitter as @metabolicbob.) The muscles surrounded by the tibia and fibula bones of the shin help with basic balance and make walking over anything uneven possible. Thank your shins when you can navigate up the stairs, down a hill and onto a sidewalk.

Once we incorporate exercise into life — even something as simple as walking — we ask more of these muscles. Shins can easily be overexerted and result in shin pain, which is commonly known as “shin splints.” (more…)

10 Percent Mileage Increase Rule for Runners is Challenged

There are lots of “rules” when it comes to running. “You have to stretch.” “You have to wear proper shoes.” “You have to cross train.”

I’ve heard all of these and more. I’ve also heard every one of these rules debunked at one point or another. It can be confusing at times to know exactly what we are supposed to do to ensure optimal running performance and health.

Recently another long standing “rule” of running was challenged in the news. The New York Times reported that the 10% rule was put under the microscope to see if its tenure still holds true or if it ever deserved its position as valid advice in the first place.

The 10% rule states that a runner should not increase their mileage more than 10% each week. The idea is that this gradual increase will prevent the body from succumbing to injury. This rule was put to the test, and studies found that it didn’t hold up: Just as many runners sustained injuries who followed the rule as those who did not.

So, what does this mean? Can a runner start out at a 10 mile total one week, and then jump up to 30 the next week? Will this increased distance and stress play no role in promoting an injury?


Stretching is Essential for Runners

To stretch or not to stretch, that really isn’t a valid question for the runner. Perhaps the runner can ask “When should I stretch?” or “How do I stretch?”  but, in my opinion, contemplating whether or not to stretch is a recipe for pain and injury.

The task of running is tremendous for the body. The heart works hard, the muscles work hard, the lungs get one of the best workouts possible during a run. While running is so great for a person’s health, it must be noted that all that work really stresses the body as well. After long runs, my muscles get very tight and sore, proving that they need some extra attention before you run on them again.

Stretching can help loosen up tight muscles and allow for more range of motion. Motion on loose muscle verses tight muscles seems to paint an obvious enough picture as to why runners should stretch. A well stretched and flexible runner has the potential to run faster with less effort or training verses the naughty, non-stretcher who knocks out several intense workouts in a week. That fact alone has inspired me to up my stretching game!


5 Common and Painful Running Mistakes You May be Making

Running isn’t easy. At times it hurts. When the pain is more than the typical sore muscles and fatigue, there’s a problem. Thankfully there are answers. More often than not, the problems stem from the runner and not the activity itself.

I’ve had my share of pains through out my running career and thankfully I’ve had the help of a physical therapist to work through them and find their cause.

Like so many other therapists, assistant professor of physical therapy and director of the running clinic at Washington University in St. Louis, Gregory Holtzman, is helping runners overcome the technique problems that may be hurting them. In an article from MSNBC, we learned that Holtzman evaluates and records runners in his clinic to pin-point the issues that they are struggling with. He finds that there are five common issues that runners are diagnosed with in relation to their struggles.


Practice a Stretching Regimen to Increase Flexibility and Reduce Injury

By Terri Hall for Care2.com

Surprising to many, research has yielded mixed findings regarding the health benefits of stretching and increasing flexibility. While there are questions regarding whether or not stretching increases athletic performance, there is general agreement that when done properly, stretching decreases the risk of activity-induced injury.

Flexibility is the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, while stretching is the activity we do to increase that range of motion. Joints have “ideal” ranges of motion which allow the body to move freely while maintaining stability. This ROM differs in each of us depending on the balance of our muscles due to factors such as over- or under-use of a muscle group and injury. So, for example, a cyclist will likely have much tighter hip flexors and hamstrings if they do not stretch adequately because of the repetitious use of the lower body. Likewise, a ballet dancer might have overstretched muscle and loose joints due to years of training from an early age. In either case, both joints that have limited or excessive ROM can contribute to injury due to the lack of stability in those joints. (more…)

Pick the Perfect Pair of Shoes for Your Workout

Usually when people pick out a pair of shoes, they go for two things: the right size and a look that they like. While this may work for a sexy pair of heels or some casual sneaks to wear with jeans, when it comes to fitness shoes, they aren’t a fashion statement: they are a piece of fitness equipment.

Just like when you invest in equipment for your home gym, everyone’s needs are different. Someone who works out in a gym is going to need different shoes than someone who prefers to run trails in the sunshine, or someone who prefers a game of pick up basketball is going to have different needs than someone who taking a Zumba class.

There are a lot of different kinds of shoes you can choose to workout in, but choosing the right type can mean the difference between a comfortable, effective workout, or pain and overuse injuries.


Empty Calories Comic: Summer Running Happened So Fast

See more Empty Calories right here in the blog each week, or receive one each month when you subscribe to our free newsletter. (more…)

Picking the Perfect Pair of Shoes for Zumba

Zumba Wear Gym Shoes on Amazon.com, $108.99

Zumba is taking over the world. It’s cheap, fun, easy and you don’t need much to join in on the Latin dance fitness craze except your body, whatever sense of rhythm you have, and the right shoes.

You don’t need those fancy high heels you may be picturing, however. Your regular gym shoes are just fine, but if you really want proper Zumba foot attire, there are a few things you should consider when picking out a new pair of kicks.

There are three basic elements to look at when purchasing any type of shoe: shock absorption, ankle support, and material and sole flexibility. Well, four, cause they have to look good, too, but that’s a given. These three elements become even more important when looking for shoes for a specific activity, which today is a kick-butt Zumba class.


Plantar Fasciitis Doesn’t Have to Sideline Your Weight Loss

There are some injuries you have to just push through, and then there are aches and pains that will stop you dead in your tracks. It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between if your pain is just normal wear and tear or if continuing on will cause serious damage to your body.

A common complaint among athletes and exercise enthusiasts is heel pain. Repeated pounding on hard surfaces, like running on asphalt or a treadmill, can often be blamed on unsupportive shoes and bruising, but sometimes that sharp pain in your heel can be a more serious problem: Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot injury that occurs when the thick band of connective tissue, the plantar fascia, that runs from your heel bone over the sole of your foot towards your toes becomes inflamed. It is most commonly caused by repeated pounding, but long periods of weight baring is also a cause, and as Americans become more obese, the added body weight has more instances of Plantar Fasciitis cropping up.