Ease Into Spring Running

by | Apr 25, 2017 | Sports Injuries

With our snow finally disappearing, it is very tempting to go full tilt into all of our favorite spring and summer activities. Stand-up paddle boarding may be a few weeks away yet, with Lake Dillon still fairly solid and the rivers running low, but running and hiking are ramping up in Eagle and Summit counties. Before beginning your spring activities, take a minute to consider a few things with regards to your feet and ankles to keep yourself safe out there.

Over the long winter, our muscles and physique can change significantly. Even if we pack on only a couple of pounds over the winter, we can lose significant muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance. So, while you may have been running 5k distances easily in September, don’t go straight to running that distance right away.

Stress fractures can occur in just about any foot bone over any distance of running, depending on fitness. Notably, the metatarsals and the calcaneus are most at risk, because they take the brunt of our weight-bearing impact. When we run, we transfer over eight times our body weight through the ankle joint. This stress, when our body isn’t ready for it, can really set back our activities.

From a cardiovascular perspective, we may have lost a few beats as well over the winter months. This doesn’t pose as much acute threat, but even if you have been skiing or snowboarding all winter long, you may find yourself stopping to catch your breath quicker than you did before. Running is great for your health because it engages so many different muscle groups, but it also puts strain on your heart and lungs due to the metabolic requirements of your muscles.

So, whether you are trying to sign up for your first race of the season or get to the top of your first fourteener, don’t take your fitness level for granted. Make sure you properly stretch and strengthen your lower extremities, from the thighs to the feet. This will help minimize stress across the joints and strain along the ligaments. Hopefully, if everything goes right, we’ll just see you along the trails. In the case of any lower extremity injuries, though, we are always here for you at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle.