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Get the Most Out of Your Run
Date:7/14/2009

Simple steps can prevent injuries, experts say

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Jogging can be great for your heart, your weight and your mental health.

But running can be tough on the body. All that pounding leaves runners prone to shin splints, stress fractures, pulled muscles, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), knee problems and issues with their hips and back.

To prevent injuries, make sure you take precautions, including wearing the right shoes, taking it easy if you're feeling sore, and building your speed and intensity over time.

"Symptoms are a great guide in running," Dr. Judith F. Baumhauer, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York, said in a news release from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. "Common sense is a good barometer of when something is wrong and professional help is needed."

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society offers these tips on getting your running up to speed safely:

Go shoe shopping.

  • Running barefoot on the sand may sound great, but you should always wear shoes when jogging, Baumhauer said. Sneakers made for running protect the foot and ankle from rolling and provide well-cushioned arch support.
  • For extra cushioning, buy a soft, over-the-counter insert. A metatarsal pad can alleviate toe joint pain or a neuroma, which is a painful swelling of a nerve. "The length of the insert can be either three-quarter or full-length," Baumhauer said. "I recommend full-length for running as I think the ledge on the three-quarter length ones can be uncomfortable.
  • Since running demands a lot of your feet, pay attention to fit and make sure your toes don't rub against the toe box. And though just about everyone is trying to save a few dollars here and there, after about 400 miles, shoes wear out. Invest in a new pair.
  • Everyone's feet, from the length to the width to the arch, a
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