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Repetitive stress can cause a leg injury known as runner’s knee. This can cause serious problems for anyone involved in sport and other physical activities. Thus, one should look to take a proactive approach and prevent the injury before it has a chance to develop.

If your knee, or any other part of the body, hurts, you should be aware that this is your body’s way of telling you to stop straining the part in question. So, if you do injure, for example, your right knee, you should avoid straining this area; stop running, jumping etc. However, this does not mean you should cease exercise entirely - exercise can increase the speed of healing - simply exercise non-affected areas. Speak to a doctor if necessary.

Equipment, posture and environment

Correcting your running posture may help you avoid injury. There should be an element of lateral movement in your running motion. Running on treadmills means you may have to focus too much on putting one foot directly in front of the other. This can have negative results; allow your feet to splay a small amount.

Good running shoes are also essential for injury avoidance. Try to find shoes that fit you well - each individual will require different sizes and shapes in their shoes. Also, don’t use heavy shoes, as the added weight can increase the strain on your joints. Similarly, avoid wearing ankle weights whilst running.

Some variation is also necessary if one wants to avoid injury. Repetition causes runner’s knee, so clearly, if you vary your routine, you may avoid injury. What this means practically is that you may have to change the surface or environment in which you run. For example, if you regularly run on a treadmill, try running on the open road to change things up. Variation of surface will mean variation of stride and pressure on the foot, which will reduce the repetitive element of running.

Physiological methods

Try to stay hydrated at all times. Dehydration will increase the risk of injury, so one should look to drink water before, during and after running.

If you are carrying extra weight, this will add to the strain on the joints. So, if you are taking up running in order to lose weight, make sure not to set out a program that will minimize injury risk - if required, consult a professional trainer.

Finally, make sure you STOP when you get tired. When fatigued, our bodies begin to lose motor control, which can increase the risk of injury. Effectively, we are losing control of our muscles when we are tired - total muscle control is necessary in order to avoid injury.

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