Running mistakes that weaken your joints | – Times of India
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5 mistakes that hurt your joints

Running is a fundamental exercise in the quest for physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. For a lot of people trying to get healthier physically, it’s an appealing option because of its accessibility and ease. Running has many advantages, but there are also risks involved. Incorrect running techniques can lead to injuries like an ankle sprain, stress fracture, a runner’s knee, etc.It can also cause muscle imbalances and back pain.
You might be surprised to learn that a lot of runners unintentionally do things that raise their risk of developing joint pain. By avoiding these five key mistakes, you can protect your joints and keep running pain-free.
Overstriding: Excessive stride length, particularly in the knees, can lead to increased impact stresses on your joints. Over time, this repetitive stress may contribute to arthritis and joint deterioration. To mitigate this risk, maintain a shorter, more natural stride while running.
Ignoring Pain: According to Dr. Hemant Sharma, Chairman – Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement at Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram, “Pushing through discomfort is a common mistake among running enthusiasts. While it’s essential to challenge yourself, ignoring chronic joint pain can exacerbate the issue. If you experience discomfort during or after a run, listen to your body and seek medical advice.”

Skipping Warm-ups and Cool-downs: Failing to perform proper warm-up and cool-down exercises can increase the likelihood of joint injuries. Incorporating stretches for recovery and flexibility post-run helps alleviate joint strain, while dynamic stretches and mobility exercises pre-run prepare muscles and joints for activity.

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Poor Running Technique: Incorrect running form can place additional strain on joints and elevate injury risk. Common technique faults such as overpronation, hunching over, and heel striking should be addressed. Consulting a physiotherapist or running coach can help evaluate and improve your running form, reducing strain on your joints.

Improper Footwear: Ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes can intensify joint strain by inadequately absorbing impact. Zero-drop shoes, with a flat sole that mimics barefoot movement, may promote a more natural foot position and gait. Transitioning to zero-drop shoes or minimalist running, however, should be gradual to prevent potential injuries.
To enhance overall running performance, incorporating tempo runs into your training regimen once a week is beneficial. A tempo run entails sustaining a comfortably hard effort slightly faster than your lactate threshold, improving your body’s efficiency in processing lactate and enabling you to run faster and longer.
By implementing these strategies and paying attention to your body’s cues, you can transform your running experience into one of mindful movement and achievement. Running should be enjoyable, but persistent pain warrants professional medical evaluation for personalized guidance.

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