Running is a great way to exercise, lose weight, or relieve some stress. Some people run twice a week, and others run every day. Whatever your running routine is, everyone can benefit from knowing that good running comes from good form. If you’re not running properly, you may be expending more energy than necessary (making you an inefficient runner) or setting yourself up for a future foot or ankle issue. Some common foot problems that frequent runners and joggers get are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinitis. Fixing your form may not eliminate these problems, but they can definitely lower the risk.
Proper Running Form
Just like any other physical activity, running form can differ depending on the personal style of the runner. Here are just a few basic rules to keep in mind no matter what your running style is.
- Stride – Try not to over-reach when running or jogging. The longer your stride is, the more chance there is that your ankle will not land completely straight leading to a sprain or another injury. A short and quick stride at a steady pace is the safest way to run.
- Knees – The foot should never touch the ground ahead of the knee. It should strike under your knee. Knees are an especially vulnerable part of your leg and already get worked very hard without you putting extra unnecessary pressure.
- Elbows – It seems like everyone has their own way of swinging or not swinging their elbows. To expend the least amount of energy, don’t swing your arms and try to keep a right angle or less with your elbows.
- Hands – Try not to clench your hands into a fist or keep your hands above the chest level while running. Relaxed hands keep your running rhythm smoother, allowing you to run more efficiently.
- Abs – Work out your core separately to strengthen as you continue running. Strong abs mean that you will strain the rest of your body (back, legs, ankles, feet) less and allow you to keep your form even if you’re running tired.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients will all different athletic injuries and other foot and ankle problems for more than seventeen years. If you have any questions contact us at 703-996-3000 or visit us at our Centreville, VA office.