All Entries For injury prevention
It might seem intuitive to avoid exercising your joints when they're causing you pain. But, like many aspects of the human body, what seems to make sense isn’t necessarily what's good for you! When you're suffering from arthritis, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to exercise. However, you must learn the right exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints, and the best stretches to gain and maintain flexibility.
Here are the exercises that I prescribe for my patients with knee and hip arthritis. My patients have had great success with them, and I hope you do, too.
Over the past three decades, fitness shoe manufacturers have developed advanced technology to cushion and control motion in our feet and ankles. While this advanced support can feel great, it doesn't allow our joints and soft tissue to articulate normally. As a result, we've disconnected with our feet! Much of our losses in flexibility and mobility can be attributed to the fact that our feet have become stiff and weak. A healthy, aligned and balanced body begins in your feet—and then translates through your entire kinetic chain (ankle, knee, hip, lower back).
As a pioneer in foot fitness (Sole Training®) and barefoot training (The willPower Method®), I've been helping everyday clients and athletes strengthen, stretch and train from the feet on up for more than 10 years. If you're intrigued by barefoot running/training or thinking of trying minimalist shoes, you must start working on your feet first. And even if barefoot training isn't something you're considering, everyone can still benefit from building foot and ankle mobility and strength.
Are you tired of wearing uncomfortable orthotics or getting painful cortisone injections? Are you dealing with an old injury or plantar fasciitis? Are you finding that your balance skills are not what they used to be?
These five exercises will help you to strengthen and stretch all ten toes, and develop flexible strength from the ground up. Over time you will enjoy improved balance in daily activities and workouts, a stronger walking/running stride, increased circulation and mobility throughout the feet and ankles, and significant reductions of foot, leg and lower back pain and injuries. All it takes is five minutes a day! Read More ›
Although I’ve been a fitness coach for years, I will admit that I don’t always practice what I preach. I don’t stretch quite as much as I should, and as a result, I’ve sustained frustrating injuries that could easily have been avoided.
Whether you’re new to exercise or a workout veteran, we all make workout mistakes from time to time. While some can be harmless—where the only consequence is burning fewer calories—others can lead to serious problems. Here are four common fitness mistakes that can lead to serious injury if you don't catch them early. Read More ›
SparkPeople's fitness experts advise against wearing wrist and ankle weights while doing cardio exercise and other general daily activities. Even though they are lightweight (usually two pounds or less), the risk of injuring yourself by wearing them far exceeds any potential added benefit (muscle strengthening or calorie burning) that you might achieve by wearing them. Read More ›
Braces and other supportive devices are great to use when recovering from an injury and to prevent re-injuring a joint that is still unstable from a previous injury.
Braces can give the joint the support it is lacking because of poor ligament stability or weakness of the muscles surrounding the joint. However, your ultimate goal should be to restore your joint's strength and stability so that it can support itself without a brace. Read More ›
Note: I'm no fitness expert--that's Coach Nicole--so please don't use this blog post as a way to diagnose or treat any injury, pain or tweak you're feeling. Listen to your body, and consult a professional if you sense anything is amiss.
Our bodies are complex systems, and even when we feel healthy and happy, they're not operating at 100% capacity or efficiency. No body is perfect, and sometimes identifying the source of a flaw can be difficult.
When you're active, aches and pains are not uncommon. I don't mean injuries; I mean some soreness or achiness. (More: Smart Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles) I don't "no pain, no gain"; I don't subscribe to that myth. (Learn to spot the signs of overtraining.) I mean the discomfort that sometimes accompanies exercise: the burn in your muscles, the stiffness in your joints, and all the other tweaks and twinges you feel in your body.
Before I started working out regularly, I don't remember having many injuries or much soreness, aside from my weak low back. In the last year, however, I've noticed an increasing number of aches and pains. I often pose this question to my yoga teacher: Is it because I'm more active, or is it because I am more aware of my body and notice even minor changes?
What's causing these ailments? Most of the time, the problem isn't my body--it's my ego. I stop listening to my body and let my ego take over.
"You can push harder--and even harder still. You can hold longer. You can run farther. You can go faster."
Then, I pay.
Maybe it's a knee that's tender, a back that's knotted up, or an elbow that feels overstretched.
What's the fix?
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For the past 9 years, I’ve called myself a runner. It started because I moved to a new town with no access to the workout facilities I’d had before, so running became an easy substitute- no equipment needed. Running quickly became an important part of my life, both physically and mentally. There was a period of time when I wouldn’t bother with a run that was any shorter than 6 miles because I didn’t consider it to be much of a workout. Because of kids and other life circumstances, those days are long gone…..
In the fall of 2010 I experienced my first serious running injury, Achilles tendonitis. I made the problem worse by continuing to push through pain instead of listening to my body and resting. I ended up in 6 weeks of physical therapy and had to stop running for a few months. When the PT told me I couldn’t run, I panicked. Running was such an important part of my life, and who would I be without it? How would I relieve stress? How would I get a good workout? Read More ›
Knee pain can come on suddenly: a sideways blow in athletics or a nasty fall while stepping off a curb. But many knee issues creep up after years of poor alignment, which results in wear and tear and arthritis. No matter the cause, knee issues do not often exist in isolation. In other words, a "cranky" knee will often have an un-neighborly relationship with the ankle below it, and/or the hip above it.
Whatever detonated your knee pain, the tissues above and below the knee must be nurtured, strengthened and given some "KneeHab" in order for the knee to learn some new strategies for pain-free living. And don't forget the other knee, hip and ankle on the non-injured side, as it will also develop its own issues too from being "leaned on" so often. These compensation attempts inevitably lead to low back pain, neck and shoulder pain—and more yuck.
My Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Rx: KneeHab DVD ($19.95) provides solutions whether your knee is wonky from sports, you're recovering from meniscus surgery or you are just looking to prevent knee injury. It will show you how to help manage just about every stage of knee dysfunction and maintenance. Here are five Yoga Tune Up® moves from my DVD to keep your knees happy, healthy and pain free! Read More ›
For many of us, exercise is the part of the day we look forward to. But for those who struggle with chronic pain, working out isn't enjoyable. It hurts.
Knees are particularly vulnerable to pain during exercise (and afterwards). There are several common exercises (from lunges to those performed in kneeling positions) that are known to cause knee discomfort. But rather than skip some of these very effective moves, you can modify your workouts and still get great results—minus the pain.
Here are four exercises that can cause knee pain, along with some simple tips to modify the exercise so that you can perform it safely and effectively. Read More ›
As an avid reader on the topic of running, what I have discovered in reading over 80 books on this subject is that the theory of running injuries varies as far and wide as the number of books I have on my shelf. Some have gone so far as to blame the shoes we wear or elect not to wear, while others blame our running form, while others blame the running surface and some even go so far as to blame the sport of running itself.
Last summer I wrote a blog on the best surfaces for runners to hone their skills. I did extensive research on this topic and was a firm believer that the type of surface we ran on either prevented or was responbile for causing many running injuries. However, my thought has shifted after reading several articles disputing the fact that there is no an ideal running surface for any of us.
After speaking with running coaches in my area on this topic, even attending several running workshops and a running symposium earlier this summer led by running coach and runner, Greg McMillan, I am taking a different approach as to what I believe is responsible for the injury rate amongst runners. In an article published earlier this summer in the New York Times, Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas, states, "he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface is beneficial to runners, nor could other experts he asked." But what may be responsible for the running injuries is making a sudden shift to a different running surface. Read More ›
This is the year of running for me. I ran my first half marathon this spring and will complete my third one this fall. I've reached new trail running goals, including a first and second place finish in recent races. In August, 11 other teammates and I will run the Hood To Coast relay, covering 200 miles in less than 36 hours. I've done fun runs, too, like the Krispy Kreme Challenge and the Warrior Dash. I'm loving every minute of this run-filled year, from the training to the races. The worst thing that could happen to me now is to be sidelined by an injury.
Yet it seems that every runner I know has dealt with a running related injury. There are lots of reasons why running can lead to injury, but I do believe is that you can avoid and prevent most running injuries if you train smart and set realistic goals. That is exactly how I've avoided injury despite increasing my mileage and speed and taking on greater challenges. It's not about luck—it's about leading with your noggin instead of your legs.
If you have goals of becoming a runner, completing a marathon, racing your way into smaller jeans, or even finishing that first 5K, this is a must-read for you. Here are the five training tips that have kept me running injury-free for years. Read More ›
Having been a member of the running community for over five years now, I have seen a number of new footwear trends picking up speed. Last month the American College of Sports Medicine released its top five footwear trends for 2011. Everything from barefoot running, to minimalist shoes, to post-running recovery shoes, even shoes endorsed by Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke promising us a more toned back side just by lacing up these shaper shoes made the list, not to mention the growing trend of wearing compression socks both during one's run and for recovery. Some of these trends I have already incorporated into my running, while those I have not, I will leave for others to try.
So where do you drawn the line as to what footwear trend you should try and what trends are better left on the store shelf?
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Over the years, I've gotten some interesting comments when family or friends find out I'm a runner. "Be careful- that stuff is terrible for your knees!" or "Why would you want to do that kind of damage to your joints?" are some of the most memorable. While I laugh a little on the inside, I politely explain to them that exercise is good for your joints, and running is no more likely to cause knee problems than anything else, since I'm healthy and have had no knee issues in the past. People are usually surprised at that response. Now I have new research to back up my claims that exercise is, in fact, good for your knees. Read More ›
The old running adage is as follows, “in order to run, one must run”—this is commonly referred to as the Principle of Specificity of Training. In other words, in order for you to become a more efficient runner, you must spend time running. But doing too much of the same activity day in and day out, regardless of the activity that you do, may lead to overuse injuries, burnout and a decrease in your running performance. This is where cross-training can be a huge benefit for runners. Cross-training allows a runner a break from the repetitive strain of running while allowing you to continue to build an aerobic base, develop stronger muscles, enhance muscle recovery, improve muscle balance, while adding variety to your running routine.
For an injured runner, cross training workouts allow you to continue building an aerobic base and maintain or build muscle strength while recovering from your injury. However, it is important that you ask your physician what exercises you have been cleared to do so that you do not do further damage and delay your return to running.
Cross-training activities should not be a replacement for a scheduled run, however from time to time doing a cross-training activity in place of an easy run may actually enhance your running. Just be certain you still take a full day off each week for complete rest, preferably before your long run day so that you receive the greatest benefit of your long runs.
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my current running injury. I’ve got Achilies tendonitis, and have been doing weeks of physical therapy which will (hopefully) get me running again. When the therapist told me I wouldn’t be running for at least 6 to 8 weeks, I panicked for a few reasons.
First, I love to run and use it as a stress reliever. So I’d have to find a new hobby, at least temporarily. Second, I didn’t know what else I was going to do for exercise. Aside from a few days of strength training each week, running has been my only form of cardio for a very long time. I became a very fit runner and was proud of the fact that I could easily go out for a 6-8 mile run any day of the week. And because I liked it so much, I never saw much of a reason to try any other activities. That is, until I became injured. Read More ›
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