Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Runner's Prevention Exercises

Guest Post by: Petra Lusche

You're running, everything feels great- the wind is in your hair, you're in your stride, and you're just in the mood to run- when, it hits you. Grinding pain in your knee joint, a common effect of Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or Runners Knee.

Runner's experience a wide-range of aches a pains, more so then other athletes. The main cause of this is due to the fact that recreational runner's are unique in being really the only athlete who doesn't cross train, specifically in the weight room. A misconception is that, since running is a muscle-degenerative exercise, building muscle in other areas can only lessen the stride. This is not so. Strength training can not only generate more force in your stride, but also can prevent common runner's injuries such as runners knee, shin splints, and ankle sprains. Below are a few exercises that can help make runner's less susceptible to these injuries during their run:

Runner's Knee//
Symptoms/     Pain on the outside of the knee , and tightness in the iliotibial band. This pain normally follows running, particularly when one runs downhill. There is also pain during flexion or extension of the knee, made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part. Commonly, there is also weakness in the hip- usually not detected-and tender trigger points in the gluteal area.
Exercises/ The Skater, Leg Cable Abduction, Wall Sits with Squeeze

The Skater/
Equipment/ Cable or Resistance Band
Execution/ Attach right foot to the either the cable or resistance band. Stand on the left leg, body pointed toward the machine, with right foot extended behind you. The movement is a smooth one from right extended backward extension, to a right forward bended knee with a hold of 2-3 seconds, then return back to start. For extra balance, hold on to the cable machine, if necessary. Do 10 times each leg.

Leg Cable Abduction/
Equipment/ Cable or Resistance Band
Execution/ Stand so that you are perpendicular to resistance, outside leg attached to the cable/resistance band. Place hands on waist. Allow the hip attached to the cable to be slightly elevated, and move your leg outward to the side, your foot moving directly away from your body. Hold for 2-3 seconds, and return to beginning. Do 10 times each leg.

Wall Sits with Squeeze/
Equipment/ Wall, and either a towel or Bosu Ball between knees
Execution/ Place back against wall, feet directly under hips and hands on wall for balance with ball/towel in hand. Drop down, like your sitting in a chair, and place ball/towel between knees. Pulse your knees, holding the sitting position, for 20-30 seconds, working your way up to 1 minute. Repeat 4 times.

Shin Splint//
Symptoms/  Involves the tearing away of the muscle tissue that attaches to the front of the lower leg.  The runner that resumes training after a long lay off are most susceptible to this injury.  The connective sheath attached to the muscles and bone of the lower leg become irritated, resulting in a razor-sharp pain in the lower leg along the inside of the tibia or shin bone.  Shin splints can be felt anywhere from just below the knee down to the ankle.  The pain may diminish after warming up but then returns a few minutes after the completion of a workout. Happens when running in uneven terrain, bad shoes, and excessive uphill running.
Exercises/ Calf Raises

Calf Raises/
Equipment/ Stairstep
Execution/ Stand on stair step, heels hanging over side, knees below hips, spine straight. Raise legs into an extended position on toes. Hold for 10-12 seconds. Release. Repeat 12 times.

Ankle Sprains/
Symptoms/ Swelling of the ankle. Also, there is a pain in the ankle area, or the nerves are more sensitive. The joints hurt/may throb. The pain can worsen with pressure, or during walking, running, or standing. It is also not uncommon to see a bit of redness in the area.
Exercises/ Ankle Inversion/Eversion

Ankle Inversion/Eversion
Equipment/ chair
Execution/ Sit up straight with your back against a wall and your feet out in front of you with your knees straight. Slowly turn your left foot inward and hold this position for 6 seconds. Reverse the opposite direction, and hold for 6 seconds. Do this exercise, each way, about 8 times. Repeat on other foot.

As always, the best treatment is prevention, so work these into your pre-running workout, and hopefully you will avoid some of these painful injuries associated with running. Remember! Always make sure you warm up, wear proper shoes, and, if the pain persists/is severe, that you talk to your doctor.

About the author: Petra Lusche is a Health Coach/Personal Trainer from Oklahoma City, OK. She has her Personal Training Certification through NASM, and is working toward her Master's in Dietetics. As a major health nut, she has a through knowledge in health, nutrition, and has been an avid runner for years. For more information and tips, visit her website at

1 comment:

  1. Great article Petra! You have provided a lot of informative information here.