Get a leg up on jogging injuries

JoggersMore than 165,000 persons were treated for running injuries in 2009, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, but many overuse injuries associated with running, such as tendinitis, shin splints, and stress fractures, can be prevented. That is why the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) advises runners to follow a regimen that suits their activity level and to keep an eye on their aches and pains, no matter how minor they may seem, and take precautions to prevent injury before, during, and after races.

The AAOS offers both competitive and recreational runners the following training and injury prevention tips:

•Discard old athletic shoes, because after 250 to 500 miles of use, a shoe loses 60% of its shock absorption.

•Take the time to warm up before running to prepare your body for more intense activity.

•Plan a progressive running program—gradually increase mileage, no more than 10% per week, and take at least 1 day off each week—that also includes stretching, warm-ups, and cool-downs.

•If you are running at high altitudes, gradually acclimate yourself to lower oxygen levels with slow, steady increases in speed and distance.

•During hot weather, schedule running in the early morning or evening hours to avoid heat exhaustion. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15, sunglasses, and a hat with a visor. Also, keep hydrated. Between 6 and 12 ounces of fluid may be lost with every 20 minutes of running—for every pound lost, drink 1 pint of fluid.

•To avoid getting chilled in cool weather, run into the wind when you start running and with the wind toward the finish

•Perform a cool-down to give your body time to recover. Once you are breathing easily, stretch while your muscles are still warm.

•Incorporate rest days into your running regimen to give your muscles the time they need to rest and rebuild each week to avoid overuse injuries.

For more information, visit the AAOS Web site at http://www.aaos.org. Or, contact the organization at American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018-4262; telephone: (847) 823-7186; fax: (847) 823-8125.