We all know that we should be physically active as a key ingredient for good health. But when we do too much too soon, we run the risk of sustaining painful overuse injuries.
Overuse injuries occur when we begin an exercise program that is too aggressive or when we step up the speed or duration of our current routine. The extra stress is placed on muscles, tendons and bones that are not ready for that level of activity.
Overuse injuries occur in many sports and even walking:
- Tendonitis, or inflamed tendon, is commonly associated with jumping or side-to-side motions such as those required for soccer, dance and tennis. In particular, Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon that attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone and is often experienced by runners.
- Plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the plantar fascia which runs along the sole of the foot, is caused by overuse of this tissue. The heel pain from plantar fasciitis is usually worst in the morning when you first get out of bed.
- Stress fractures are tiny breaks in the bone that plague athletes such as distance runners and basketball players. They are very common in the foot and shin because of the weight-bearing responsibilities of those areas.
The Good News? Overuse Injuries of the Foot Can Be Avoided
Here are our top 8 tips to avoid an overuse injury:
- Do some gentle stretches before beginning your activity – but always warm up before stretching with some easy jogging in place.
- Don’t work through any pain, as discomfort is your body’s signal that something is wrong or that you are overdoing it.
- Follow the 10% rule. Increase your activity level, such as running distance or duration, gradually by only 10% per week as you work toward your goals.
- Whenever possible, run on soft, flat surfaces.
- Mix up your routine. Alternate hard training days with easier ones. Put your running shoes aside for a day to do weight training.
- Choose the right footwear for each activity. Shoes for tennis accommodate a lot of both forward and lateral motion. Basketball shoes support the ankle and have flat bottoms for stable landings. Running shoes have ample cushioning to absorb stress and are lightweight and flexible.
- Replace your running shoes every 500 miles.
- Women and teen girls should get enough calcium to reduce their risk of stress fractures.
By slowly increasing your activity level, your body will have time to adapt and strengthen to keep you in the game! If an injury should occur, make sure to contact your Cornerstone Foot & Ankle doctor!
Cornerstone Foot & Ankle is a full-service foot and ankle specialty office with locations in Sewell, Cherry Hill, Marlton, Mt. Holly, Woodbury, and Glassboro; serving the South Jersey region. We offer a full suite of services including surgery, fracture care, fungal nail care, diabetic foot care, pediatric podiatry, custom braces and orthotics, wound care, limb salvage, and treatments for arch pain, heel pain, and sports injuries; just to name a few. If it hurts below your knee, we can help you! CALL NOW or request your appointment online TODAY!