Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Excessive Knee Lift

When runners tire, they often overstride, which exaggerates their knee lift. But lifting your knees just tires out the quadriceps even more quickly, leading to sore thighs the next day. Your knees should primarily swing forward and back not pump up and down. If your knees are lifting up instead of swinging forward:

1. Reduce the length of your stride.
2. Keep your feet low to the ground.
3. Maintain a quick stride rate, just lightly touching the ground with each footfall.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Achilles Tendinitis

Tendons lose their elasticity with age, making them vulnerable to irritation and inflammation.

Who Gets It:
Runners, especially older ones. Ramping up the volume or intensity - especially by running up and down hills - can lead to Achilles problems.

Ways to Prevent It:
Stretch your calves. Ask a trainer to teach you how to stretch the soleus, the smaller muscle that runs down the back of your calf.

How to Fix It:
Rest. Use ice and possibly anti-inflammatories.

The Latest Treatment:
Research suggests that "eccentric training" using heavy loads - in this case, certain calf exercises that lengthen the muscles as they are trying to contract - can improve the pain and disability of Achilles tendinitis.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lower Back Pain

Back muscles get strained, disks degenerate, and nerves are pinched.

Who Gets It:
Who doesn't? A full 80 percent of the population can expect to experience significant back pain at some point.

Ways to Prevent It:
Your mother was right: Watch your posture! That ca fend off strain and pain.

How to Fix it:
Treatment runs the gamut from light exercise and a heating pad to major surgery, depending on the severity and type of pain.

The Latest Treatment:
Studies suggest that surgery helps people with degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis (a condition in which a vertebra slips out of alignment, eventually causing the spinal column to narrow and pinching nerves). People with sciatica - pain caused by a disk pressing against a nerve - are apt to get better over time, with or without surgery.