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Test May Help Runners Sidestep Injury This Spring

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many of us have felt stuck inside for months and spring-like weather has us sprinting to get outside.

Many runners are hitting the paths around city lakes for the first time since fall, and one clinic wants to make sure people learn how to prevent injuries before pounding the pavement.

Indeed, spring is the time of year when most runners get sidelined.

“Outside, you have a change in terrain, your speed naturally changes, you have to jump over puddles,” says Dawn Alstatt, a physical therapist at Regions Hospital. “It’s more common to be injured at some point as a runner than not to be injured.”

That’s why Regions Hospital developed its Run Injury-Free program.

The program gives runners a treadmill analysis in which a physical therapist records the run and then breaks down the runner’s form.

Exercises are then done to help pinpoint what can cause an injury.

Most program participates, like Andy Cook, come in after getting hurt. Cook hurt himself after running a triathlon.

“My calf muscle really hurt,” Cook said. “Being thick-headed, I thought, ‘Oh it will go away.’ But it didn’t go away, it got worse.”

The test helped him see what he was doing wrong.

“I was too far forward, striking my heel,” Cook said.

He isn’t alone, Health Partners, who runs Regions Rehabilitation Institute, found that 60 percent of all running injuries come from training errors.

The treadmill test cost around $150 if you’re not referred by a physician. But here’s some free tips:

– Never run too far too fast. Each successful week of running means you can increase your time by just 10 percent the next week.

– Building glute and hip muscles are the best way to prevent knee injury.

– Do calf flexes to build both.

– And lastly, cross train, on something like a bike when muscles or joints hurt from running.

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