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Trail Running Can Prevent Injuries. Say What!?

by: Janae Richardson

When we think about the topic of injury prevention a lot of things come to mind…icing, massage, foam rollers, strengthening exercises, etc.  What if I told you trail running could also be added to this injury prevention list? Say what!?  I know right now you are picturing rolling your ankle, tripping over a rock or root, falling off a steep cliff, or running into a rattle snake.  While these are all possible risks of trail running, one could contend that while running on the roads you could just as easily trip over a curb or pothole, get bit by a dog, or even hit by a car.  The truth is, trail running has some definite injury prevention benefits and here’s why…

Read More….

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Ice Bucket Challenge – Runners have been doing this for years!

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The Ice Bucket Challenge!

While we don’t want to downplay the widespread participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge or the fact that the ALS Association has been able to raise 100 million dollars (a 3,500% increase from the $2.8 million ALS was able to raise during the same period of time last year), we do take pride in the fact that runners once again are able to “one-up” the average person.  While people are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads and experiencing the cold rush for a minute or so, runners for years have been participating in ICE BATHS where we immerse our bodies up to our chests in ice water for 10-15 minutes!

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So what are the benefits of ice baths for runners and what are the best conditions for an ice bath…

Benefits of an Ice Bath

  • reduces inflammation and muscle soreness following an intense workout
  • reduces the drop in performance that follows a hard, long, or fast workout

What are the best conditions for an ice bath

  • MOST EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AFTER WORKOUT
  • STAND IN DEEP WATER. The bulk of the advantage from ice baths actually seems to come from the water pressure not the cold water temperature, so the best way to do an ice bath is if you can stand in a pool, lake, or river.  Although less beneficial (because of less water pressure), sitting in a fairly shallow tub is better than nothing and will still provide some benefit.
  • TEMPERATURE OF WATER BETWEEN 50-59 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT
  • DURATION: 10-15 MINUTES

So while we’ll show our support with the Fad of the Ice Bucket Challenge, us runners will continue to do what we’ve always done and utilize ice baths as a recovery tool!

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Core Muscle Exercises

WE ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS OUR WEAKEST LINK!!

Sometimes we put so much focus on getting in the miles, the intense workouts, the long runs, and eating right, that sometimes we neglect to strengthen the area of our body that is going to carry us through all the training and across that finish line. Our core is our foundation. If we don’t spend a little time on strengthening our core muscles 2-3 times a week an injury will find us. 

So check out this video from our friends at Mountain Land Physical Therapy. It contains a few simple core exercises that can easily and quickly be implemented into your training program. 

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IT Band Friction Syndrome – When Knee Pain Comes From the Hip

 

What is the IT Band?

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a very thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip down the outside of your leg and connects on the outside of your knee.  Your glutes, hip abductor and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscles all connect into this band.

 

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What is IT Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS)?

A sudden increase in mileage (over a 5% increase in one week) or excessive downhill running can cause the IT band to rub and create friction on the outside of the knee creating pain.  Since the IT band has fibers that also connects into the outside portion of the kneecap this can also be a source of pain at the front of the knee.

What Causes ITBFS?

Remember Newton’s 3rd Law of motion that “every action has an equal & opposite reaction?”  During running, every time our foot hits the ground with a certain amount of force the same amount of force is also exerted from the ground back up through our foot and into our leg.  If the musculature involved (usually the muscles on the outside of the hip) cannot contend with these increased impact and force requirements, then the body can start to break down and often times this occurs at the knee.  A rapid increase in running distance, downhill running, or running on slanted or graded surfaces (the same side of the road every run) forces the legs to undergo a significant increase in impact and force.

How Do I Fix It?

Decreasing your mileage temporarily until your symptoms subside then increasing more gradually sometimes can help initially.  Increasing your cadence (steps per minute) can help because it decreases the time your foot is on the ground, limiting the returning force the ground can exert back.  There is research data to indicate runners with ITBFS may have weaker hip muscle strength on the affected side.  So strengthening those muscles on the outside of your hip is KEY and is very simple with performing either, or both of the following exercises (to be performed every other day at 3 sets of 10 or 15 reps):

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The following stretches after your run will also be helpful to loosen those tissues & muscles on the outside of your hip holding each stretch for 30-45 seconds, 3 times daily:

stretches

HAPPY RUNNING!

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BRET MAIERS, PT, DPT, OCS

Bret Maiers received his Doctorate degree in physical therapy from Eastern Washington University in 2010.  He is a board certified orthopaedic clinical specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association and is currently the clinic director for Mountain Land Physical Therapy at their Stansbury Park location. In his spare time Bret enjoys running and both watching and playing sports.

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