“How to beat aches and pains if you are a runner”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Running is a great form of aerobic exercise. In fact it may be the best as far as overall conditioning.
So what are the musculoskeletal problems that can slow runners down?
Well... let’s start with the feet. Metatarsalgia, or pain in the ball of the foot, can develop when people run with shoes that aren’t well-padded on a hard unforgiving surface. Make sure your shoes fit well. It’s worth it to go to a good running shoe store and have a knowledgeable person fit you.
Plantar fasciitis- inflammation of the ligaments that connect the ball of the foot with the heel is a common problem in runners. Make sure you have good arch support. If you are unlucky enough to develop plantar fasciitis, you need to stretch and probably take some time off.
Ankle problems can develop if your foot is overpronating or underpronating. Again a lot of this is related to proper footwear and proper stretching before you go out.
If you develop pain in the back of the heel you may be getting Achilles tendonitis. You must absolutely see a physician, take a few days off, and stretch properly. I know, because I didn’t listen to this advice and tore my Achilles tendon!
Knee pain has a bunch of different reasons. For instance, pain along the inside of the knee could be due to medial collateral ligament strain, a tear in the medical meniscus (a cartilage cushion inside the knee), or to a plica, a piece of soft tissue that gets pinched between the kneecap and upper leg bone). Bursitis can also cause knee pain.
Pain on the outside part of the knee can be due to iliotibial band syndrome- another muscle and ligament problem. Also some people who have a knee cap that is pulled too far to the outside, can develop pain in this location.
Hip pain is often times due to either bursitis or arthritis. Make sure you see a qualified physician if you have this problem, on a recurring basis. Proper warming up and cooling down with stretching before and after you run is important.
Starting to do too much too soon can also cause low back strain, especially if you are running hills. Back off if this happens to you.
Pace yourself. Run at a comfortable pace. Also... don’t run every day. Allow your body to rest. When you run try to vary the terrain. Running uphill a lot can do a number on your knees! Running downhill can also hurt your knees. Consider running on a track instead of hard concrete or asphalt.
Dress properly. Good cold weather running clothes are worth it. Get polypropylene. Don’t run in cotton in cold weather. Remember the old adage... cotton kills!
Conversely, don’t run if it’s a Code Red day outside, especially if you have other health problems.
If you do ache after a run, make sure you use ice on the affected area. Careful use of over-the-counter analgesics can also be useful.
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