Logging lots of miles? Here's how to sidestep the most common pain-related issues.
Ready, set, run!
Running can be life-changing—a near-instant stress buster, a proven calorie blaster and a chance to impress yourself. But it also has a drawback: About half of all runners will get injured, according to Reed Ferber, director of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada.
It's not inevitable, though. "More than half of all injuries can be avoided just by listening to your body and preparing it better," says Lisa Callahan, MD, co-director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City. That means wearing proper shoes, staying strong and addressing aches early. Here's how to run pain-free.
What it feels like: Pain near the kneecap that gets worse when you run downhill or descend stairs.
What it is: An irritation of cartilage under the kneecap or strain of underlying tendons. It's often linked to weak hip-rotator muscles.
Fix it: Ice your knee for 10 to 15 minutes after running. Also, decrease your run distance and frequency by half and avoid running on consecutive days, advises Brian Eckenrode, assistant professor of physical therapy at Arcadia University, in Glenside, Pa.
Prevent it: Strengthen outer hip muscles with side-lying leg lifts or clamshells (lie on side, knees bent; lift top leg but keep heels together).
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