Four easy ways to stay injury free while sprinting by Alex Clark MCSP, In-House Physiotherapist at Neo G
Don’t jump straight in
I get it – the sun comes out and suddenly you want to swap your commute in the car for a run to work but make sure you build up to spending increased time on your feet, rather than jumping straight in.
Going straight into sprinting or increasing the time on your feet drastically over a short period of time can contribute to both heel and foot pain and other injuries and is common as the better weather sees us spending more time on our feet outdoors. Consider gradually building up to activities in the next few weeks, increasing your mileage slowly as your body adjusts to increased demand.
Take another look at your shoes
With the better weather people tend to wear different footwear such as lightweight trainers. However, this footwear can be less supportive for the heel and foot arch and can, therefore, alter your natural stride, increasing the likelihood of shin splints, Achilles pain or plantar fasciitis. This, in turn, can lead to knee or lower back problems – not fun when you want to be out enjoying your run.
While I’m not suggesting you swap your regular trainers for expensive shoes, there are products out there that can help make your footwear more supportive. Invest in a good pair of orthotic insoles that either offer heel support or arch support, depending on your feet, or, if you’re wearing trainers with thin soles, consider using an insole for cushioning and support. Neo G’s NeoThotics range comes with a full length and ¾ length insole which integrates cushioning with medical grade support to relieve pressure on the feet.
Make time for rest and recovery
It may seem counterproductive but making sure you give your body ample time to rest and recover is key to staying injury free. Increased temperatures and time spent running can cause swelling, so invest in an ice pack and use it on problem areas after a long run to help ease this swelling and prevent potential injuries arising.
If you are already experiencing muscle aches and pains, using a heat pack along with massaging the part of your body that’s in pain can help to relieve painful symptoms and reduce inflammation to get you back on your feet sooner. If you can get into a daily routine of applying some heat and massage to problem areas, and ice when swelling occurs, this will allow you to enjoy running without worrying about potential injuries.
Know how to spot something more serious
Mild pain and discomfort can be common when running and sprinting, but it’s important to seek professional help if home remedies don’t work. Many problems, especially those caused by overuse, will respond well to rest and cold/heat therapy but if not, know when to see an expert. If you have severe pain or are unable to put weight on your foot or, if swelling or pain persists after a few days, make sure to seek help from your GP or another medical professional.
It’s also a possibility that other pain in your body is being caused by problems in alignment in your feet. If this is a concern, seek advice from a physiotherapist, who will advise on exercises and strategies that might help.
For more information about Neo G go to https://www.neo-g.co.uk/