by Stacey Stewart
It’s been estimated that almost 80% of runners are injured every year, with the main cause being repeated use of the same joints and muscles over time. Some of the most common injuries for runners include: runner’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, and stress fractures.
With so many injuries occurring in runners every year, the topic of injury prevention is naturally a common topic for discussion. Some of the most common injury prevention tactics for runners include stretching, proper warming up/cooling down, ice/heat application, and investing in proper footwear.
Another helpful tool to prevent injury in runners includes bracing. The following is a look at the ways runners prevent injury with braces.
Healthy ankles are an extremely important component of running; with an injured ankle, running becomes virtually impossible without the right equipment. The ankle is quite complex and allows the foot to move in all three planes of motion. While it offers a large amount of movement, the ankle is also a joint that is much more susceptible to injury.
The ankle is held together by short, strong ligaments and, when these are pulled or stretched too far, you may experience an ankle sprain or other painful injuries. These are very common in all kinds of runners and can occur on the outside or the inside of the ankle, with the outside being more common.
Ignoring sprains or failing to treat painful areas can result in chronic ankle instability over time. There are a few ways to treat ankle injuries, including raising the area, treating it to an ice bath, ankle rehab exercises, and ankle braces.
Running ankle braces come in a variety of styles and are very helpful for preventing injury in runners. Quality ankle stabilizers like this one are great for competitive running, as the tight lacing and figure-8 strap help to protect from ankle sprains during pivoting, cutting, and directional changes. The reinforced strap helps to increase inversion and eversion control of the ankle.
For those runners who are experiencing problems with their Achilles, this type of ankle brace is a great tool to avoid injury. This brace focuses on keeping the heel in a neutral position and allowing the Achilles to glide smoothly in proper alignment, as well as restricting extension of the Achilles.
Many runners will wear ankle braces for both their training and competing in order to prevent injury or to protect a previous one. With today’s technology, ankle braces are now much more lightweight and form-fitting, allowing them to fit comfortably under shoes and throughout performance.
Image Source from https://photodune.net/item/black-ankle-brace/2576428?s_rank=5
About 40% of running injuries are knee injuries. While some knee injuries can be much more painful than others, all should be treated quickly to ensure that runners can continue to perform at their best. Some of the most common knee injuries in runners include Runner’s Knee, Iliotibial Band Inflammation, tearing of the meniscus, and tears in the various knee ligaments, including the ACL and the MCL.
For runners who have been previously injured, stability of the knee can be great cause for concern when they begin running again. Some of the braces that runners use to prevent further injury include quality knee stabilizers, which help to control patella movement, reinforce knee joint support, and decrease knee pains. These braces are fairly thin in material, and runners can wear them both while performing and also while executing regular tasks such as walking.
Those runners who are struggling with osteoarthritis of the knee or previous injuries in areas like the MCL and ACL may find a Defiance knee brace to be a solution to help prevent further injury. The brace decreases pain associated with ACL, LCL, and MCL injuries, increases knee stability, and improves joint function. This brace style is ideal for athletes with active lifestyles, and runners will benefit from the lightweight design and foam condyle pads with 100% memory to increase comfort while performing.
Runners who run on tougher surfaces like hills and rocky trails may be worried about the shock absorption in their knees. Using something like a web knee brace can help prevent injury by relieving anterior knee pain, dispersing energy across the entire knee, and stabilizing the knee on all sides. This kind of brace can help with Chondromalacia Patella, Patellar Tendonitis, Osgood-Schlatter Disease, and mild OA.
Image Source from https://photodune.net/item/physiotherapy-knee-brace/3520589?s_rank=6
The most common foot injury for runners is Plantar Fasciitis, which creates mild to severe pain in the foot, specifically in the heel. This pain is created when the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot, the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed and painful.
Depending on the severity of the tears in the plantar fascia, some runners may be able to run and tolerate their pain or discomfort. However, plantar fasciitis wraps are a great tool to helping reduce inflammation and prevent any further injury. Like many of the other braces available to runners, this wrap can easily fit into a shoe, and it can be worn either over a sock or directly on the skin.
For runners, braces are just one of the components that can help with injury prevention. As suggested by many professionals, tending to your injuries right away is the most important aspect of staying healthy. Even if you notice small twinges or jolts, it’s a good idea to start a rehab program quickly that includes proper stretching, strength training, and foam rolling to make sure you get back to your healthiest self before you head out on the trails again.
With all injuries, be sure to refer to your doctor before you invest in any sort of brace. There are so many unique injuries and brace options, that you’ll want to be knowledgeable about your injuries before making a treatment decision.