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Tips to Avoid Injuries While Running

August 17, 2018
If you’re a runner, you know that running can be a great way to burn calories, build endurance, and reduce stress. But did you know that running every day might not be the best idea? Dr. Todd Melegari, orthopaedic surgeon with GBMC Health Partners Orthopaedics, talked with Bmore Lifestyle hosts, Chardelle Moore and Christina Denny, about steps all runners should take to make sure they’re lowering their risk of running injuries.

Asked if you can run too much, Dr. Melegari had some advice that might surprise many runners. “Running causes microtraumas to the muscles, so rest days are extremely important,” he explained. “A day off from running gives your muscles the chance to heal and grow stronger. If you skip those rest days, those microtraumas can add up and cause painful overuse injuries.”

Dr. Melegari added that a rest day doesn’t mean you have to lounge around all day and do nothing. You should simply switch up your exercise routine with cross training, whether that means hitting the pool, riding your bike, or weight training.

He also discussed whether it’s better to stretch before or after your run, why you should do both dynamic stretches and static ones, and how to tell the difference between “good” pain after a run and pain that means you may have injured yourself. “If the pain lasts for more than a day or so and you can’t manage it with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s time to see an orthopaedist for an assessment,” he said.

If you’re thinking about running in a marathon or half marathon, Dr. Melegari shared this advice. “The key to preventing overuse injuries and other types of injuries is to have a training plan that helps you build up to running longer distances safely,” he said. “You need to include cross training and don’t try to go all out on your first run.”

Answering a question about running on a treadmill, Dr. Melegari explained that it’s much tougher on your body than running on a track, especially if you’re putting the treadmill on a steep incline setting. “It’s a very high impact way to run. You’re putting pressure equivalent to three times your body weight on your knees,” he noted. For a 120 pound women, that would be 360 pounds of pressure. For a 200 pound man, that’s 600 pounds of pressure.

Dr. Melegari’s other advice to runners included the importance of hydration, especially in a humid town like Baltimore, whether compression sleeves can help boost your run, and why young athletes shouldn’t be pushed to run during their off season.
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