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Preventing Running Injuries and Debunking Myths: Part Two

Woman preparing to runAuthor: Joel Mason PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Contributing Author: Sarah Schultz MS, LAT

Many individuals enjoy the freedom and competition that running provides. There is much to know about running to be effective and safe in this growing sport. Here are a few running myths to consider.

Running Myth One: I was once asked by a group of older runners if we see more injuries among runners when they get older. This is a common misconception that some people have because they may know an older runner who is now getting a knee replacement. The evidence shows less injuries and arthritis for runners, especially for those who have been doing it for a long time. Running has, in fact, been found to be protective against osteoarthritis and knee injuries in general. Two exceptions are (a): There is a higher risk when starting a new running program and for this reason it is important to progress gradually. (b): Training for greater than 40 miles/week increases the injury risk for men but not necessarily for women.

Running Myth Two: Surface is also often falsely accused of being the cause of injuries. However, quite a few studies have shown that impact force is no different on soft versus hard surfaces. One study even found impact to be higher on grass versus concrete. It has been argued that the Kenyon runners can run barefoot because they run on soft surfaces; however the terrain in Africa is actually quite hard. In fact, the issue of surface hardness should actually be irrelevant, since barefoot running done correctly decreases the impact.

Running Myth Three: Shoes are fairly new.  Actually, shoes have been found on people 7,500 years ago.  Depending on the terrain, people made shoes to protect their feet.  Soles to protect feet from rocky terrain, rubber like material on the sides to protect feet and legs in areas that were often covered in snow.

About Sarah Schultz

Sarah is a Licensed Athletic Trainer at Sports, Spine and Work Center. She provides Athletic Training services at Campbellsport High School and provides Industrial Services to the community through WorkSTEPS testing, the Work Hardening Program and doing ergonomic evaluations. She is an avid cyclist and barefoot runner. Sarah’s other interests include dynamic stretching, core strengthening, rehabilitation, muscle recovery techniques, and sports nutrition.

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