Five Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

Global Running Day, held each year on the first Wednesday of June, is promoted as a “worldwide celebration of running” that encourages you to simply get moving and have fun. Thousands of people from more than 100 countries participate, and it doesn’t matter how fast you run or how far you go. What’s more important is that you enjoy yourself while being active. You might even get inspired to do it more than just once a year!

Image of a man and woman running outside with their dogAt Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics, we encourage running and other forms of regular exercise as one way to keep the body healthy. It’s important to note, however, that increased repetitive force from impact on hard surfaces like pavement can put added pressure on the legs, knees, feet and ankles. This could lead to injury or conditions such as plantar fasciitis and chondromalacia patellae. Below, we’ve compiled five tips to help you reduce the risk of running injuries, especially if running is a new activity for you.

1. Warm up and cool down

Like any form of physical activity, you should properly warm up before running and cool down afterward. Warming up helps prepare the cardiovascular system for exercise by gradually increasing the heart rate and improving blood flow to the muscles, while also reducing the risk of muscle tightness and injury. Similarly, cooling down after a run helps prevent the muscles from tightening up and becoming sore.

2. Set appropriate limits

When you gradually increase your activity level, you reduce the risk of bone, muscle and joint injury. Know your limits, though, and avoid overdoing it, especially during the hot summer months. The following symptoms often occur when your body exceeds its limits, which serve as signs that it’s time to take a break:

  • Pain
  • Soreness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or fatigue

3. Wear supportive shoes

The type of shoes you wear can also increase or decrease your risk of injury. Find shoes that fit your foot type and running style. A store that specializes in athletic footwear can you help you determine what shoes might be best for you.

4. Build strength

When it comes to preventing injuries, a runner’s best defense is a strong body. Sturdy muscles, ligaments and tendons help improve form and protect the body against impact and repetitive force. Adding basic strength training to your fitness routine may help you run with greater control and stability, reducing your risk of injury.

5. Increase flexibility

Daily stretching is essential for improving and maintaining flexibility, as well as avoiding injury. Stretching helps elongate the muscles, which in turn prevents them from tightening up or becoming sore. Additionally, flexibility training improves joint range of motion for optimized performance.

If you experience a muscle, bone or joint injury while running, seek medical treatment early to avoid permanent damage or loss of function. The board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics specialize in treating a variety of orthopedic conditions, including running injuries and other sports-related injuries.

For more information about common sports-related leg/knee or foot/ankle injuries, watch the videos below. To consult with our physicians about your orthopedic health, please make an appointment by calling 913-319-7600.


The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.

Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing orthopedic injuries or other musculoskeletal problems. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.