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Running Injury Prevention: Taking the Right Steps
21 Mar 2017
21 Mar 2017
by Jennifer Smallridge

Running Injury Prevention: Taking the Right Steps

Running Injury Prevention: Taking the Right Steps

We’ve all heard that we need to get physically active for good health. Running is a popular choice for many reasons, but did you know that approximately 70% of all runners are injured each year? Typical runner’s issues that we see at Sportsmed Biologic include plantar fasciitis, anterior knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome, and Achilles tendinopathy. No matter your personal motivations for running, it is imperative that your body is in peak physical condition to sustain the many forces placed upon the joints.

Your running routine shouldn’t just include running

A recent study which looked at injury rates amongst the U.S. Army found that running injury risk significantly decreases in those who participate in strength training three or more times per week, in addition to their regular running program. We know that strengthening muscles around our joints takes the load off important structures such as cartilage, menisci and ligaments. Finding an exercise group with qualified instructors, or having a personalised program prescribed to you by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist is a great way to start.

The same study found that excess body weight was a risk factor when it comes to running related injuries – especially considering that your lower limbs endure up to 8 times your body weight with each stride! If you are considering running to manage your weight, accessing the Alter-G treadmill at Sportsmed Biologic is a great way to reduce the impact on your joints.

Get your gait analysed

An average marathon runner takes 25,000 steps per race – that’s a whole lot of force! The knee joints alone are found to take 5 times more load during running than walking, and if you’re running with even a slight misalignment, it can create the perfect storm for an injury.

Having your running gait professionally analysed at Sportsmed Biologic can give you priceless information about your biomechanics. Research has shown that runners who heel-strike – that is, landing primarily on the heel of your shoe with each step – experience double the amount of repetitive stress injuries than those who land on their midfoot or forefoot.

Not to be missed

A thorough movement screen can identify weaknesses and imbalances, as well as giving you the tools to improve them. A great running program always includes the following:

  • Landing mechanics – the knee joint absorbs more than 40% of the ground reaction forces during running, so you’ve got to get this part right!
  • The deep core and gluteal muscles – exercises with Therabands work wonders in this region, especially when progressing movements from the floor to standing positions.
  • Bounding – the act of jumping forwards from a single leg, on to the opposite leg. Listen to the sounds you make during this exercise – a light, quiet landing means that force is being absorbed well.
  • Calf strengthening – Forces at the ankle are absorbed and transferred by the Achilles tendon through what’s known as elastic potential energy. The right types of exercises in the calf region not only strengthen the muscle, but the tendon, and where they join together.


Treat your pain professionally

If an injury has occurred, the last thing a runner wants to do is rest. Get the right advice and fast-track your recovery with our highly experienced Sports Physicians – we offer a range of biological interventions to promote the body’s natural healing process, as well as elite rehabilitation programs to ensure that you’re taking all the right steps.

Call 1300 858 860 to get on top of your niggling pains today.


Grier, T.L., Canham-Chervak, M., Anderson, M.K., Bushman, T.T. and Jones, B.H., 2017. Effects of Physical Training and Fitness on Running Injuries in Physically Active Young Men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 31(1), pp.207-216.

Van Gent RN, Siem D, van Middelkoop M, van Os AG, Bierma-Zeinstra SMA, Koes BW. Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2007;41(8):469–80; discussion 480.

Tsai L-C, Powers CM. Increased Hip and Knee Flexion During Landing Decreases Tibiofemoral Compressive Forces in Women Who Have Undergone Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Am J Sports Med. 2013;41(2):423–429.

The Prehab Guys. (2017). Runner's Prehab Checklist - The Quick Reference Guide For Recreational Runners | The Prehab Guys. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2017].

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