What should you look out for with running and hiking

With the temporary closure of gyms and fitness centres that happened during the lockdown period most people have had to think of new ways to stay fit and healthy during thattime, after all one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy is physical exercise.

As a Biokineticist it has been exciting to see how many people have taken up activities such as road running, cycling, hiking and even training with resistance bands and home based gym equipment.

But as with most things, some these new found hobbies do result in both acute and long term orthopaedic injuries if the necessary preparation is not done. We have seen an increase in running and hiking related orthopaedic issues at the practice over the past few months and perhaps we should have a deeper look at how to execute these activities with as little risk of injury as possible.

Road running and hiking
Running has not only been popular during the nationwide lockdown period, but has been a popular fitness activity for many even before the lockdown with hundreds if not thousands partaking in it on our roads everyday. As a result we see a lot of runners daily at our practice from beginner to elite. What has been evident is that they all have one thing in common, their ability to push their bodies past levels they previously never thought would be possible. There has also been a big surge in people that find hiking as an exciting alternative to get the heart pumping with some even using the opportunity to socialize with friends and family and of course take a selfie or two. We have seen some similarities with conditions experienced by runners and hikers alike. Most of these can be avoided.

Common running injuries
The common running and hiking injuries we see at the practice can be classified as either impact, overuse or technique related
• impact related injuries
these result from repetitive forces that are applied to various joins like ankles, knees and hips during running or hiking. Some common impact injuries related to running and hiking that we see at the practice will be discussed in later posts

• Overuse and technique related injuries
these tend to be injuries that are a result of overuse and may often be related to incorrect training techniques or simply as the description suggests, overuse. Some common overuse injuries related to running and hiking that we see at the practice will also be discussed in later posts
Common causes of most of the running and hiking injuries we see at the practice
o Incorrect footwear
o Incorrect running and walking techniques
o Muscle imbalances and incorrect biomechanics
o Overuse and overtraining or simply put, doing too much too soon
o Recurring injuries that where previously not treated correctly
o Incorrect training techniques
How to avoid running injuries
o ALWAYS and I stress ALWAYS obtain medical clearance before starting any training routine
o Get personalized training programs and advise from the relevant professionals, avoid programs that are not tailormade for you as these may result in injuries
o Make sure you have the corrects gear (shoes, hiking sticks etc)
o Do not overdo things, your rest days are just as important as your training days
o Do not train when you are not feeling well, this goes for both musculoskeletal conditions as well as any flu like symptoms (This is of cause a topic all on its own)
What to do should you have already sustained injuries
The most common advise we give to people who have sustained sporting injuries is to take time off and do the rehabilitation of the injury properly before heading back to the activity. The rehab needs to be done properly to prevent the risk of re injury. Your Biokineticist should be able to guide you on when the ideal time would be for you to get back to your activity following your injury as some injuries require longer periods than others.
In conclusion
Whilst exercise is always a great idea you need to make sure that you are doing thing properly so that you may enjoy the full benefits. Take time to carefully research your new activity, consult with the relevant professionals to make sure that this is really for you