How to Recover from Common Running Injuries - Dr. Axe

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How to Recover from Common Running Injuries


[Below is my transcript of my video about learning how to recover from common running injuries, along with supplemental information on the topic.]

Today, I want to talk to you about how to overcome common running injuries or athletic injuries. Whether you’re a runner, soccer player, basketball player or any other type of athlete, and you’ve had an injury that was running- or jumping-related, there are specific things you absolutely want to do to overcome that injury, deal with muscle ache treatments and start to heal very quickly.

Related: The Best Knee Strengthening Exercises to Relieve Pain

6 Steps to Recovering from a Running or Athletic Injury

1. Rest the Area

The first thing you want to do is rest the area, at least for 72 hours (which may be hard for you exercise diehards). For example, if you’re looking for ankle sprain remedies or plantar fasciitis treatment, the first thing I tell people to do is immediately rest and continue to elevate the area for at least the next three days. 

2. Do Non-Impactful Exercise

Next, you want to start actually doing exercise that is non-impactful. Typically, the best things to do, especially if you’re a runner, is to start cycling and swimming. With cycling and swimming, you’re still going to be working your lungs and exercising larger muscle groups like your legs, so it’s going to help your body stay in shape at the very same time increasing circulation into that area, helping you heal faster.


So again, if you’re not able to run right now, start swimming and start cycling on a good spin bike or do spin classes (though you may want to avoid the standing position in spin classes, as that could also aggravate that same running injury). That’s the first thing you want to do when you’re overcoming a running injury once that area feels well enough for you to start being active again.

3. Change Your Diet

Surprising to some of you, it’s also key to change your diet when you get injured. You’ve got to start eating omega-3 fatty acid-rich and anti-inflammatory foods — like such great omega-3 foods as wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef and chia seeds.

Also you want to start consuming anti-inflammatory herbs, as ginger and turmeric benefits are truly impactful. Turmeric, for example, has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published that prove the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin.

In general, just getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet is important. Also, liquid coconut water can help you overcome low potassium, as that mineral can actually help eliminate toxins in your system and can help heal an area that’s injured from a running injury.

4. Strengthen Your Muscles

The next step and thing you want to do for common running injuries is start strengthening your muscles, and one of the best things to do is to do resistance band exercises. Bands are very non-impactful, and they actually help your body work through a full range of motion. So start using bands for both your upper and lower body. 

It’s also important to begin to seriously work your core, as strengthening these muscles may have prevented the injury in the first place. In particular, there are some important exercises you can do to strengthen your core and lower back muscles to help prevent pain and injury.

5. Get Work Done on Your ‘Soft Tissue’

The next step is to get some soft tissue work done. I’d go and find a good quality athletic trainer, or a manual or massage therapist. Somebody who can really look at your body, feel for different knots or muscular or physical imbalances, and then work them out, including deep issue massage.

It could be possible that you have a muscular imbalance or a muscle spasm somewhere that’s causing your body to run out of balance. Let’s say you have a short leg, and you’re running all the time, then you’re putting extra stress on one joint more than the others over, and over, and over again. And that’s when you may even consider seeing someone like a chiropractor and try out the benefits of chiropractic adjustments

So again, seeing a natural holistic physician — whether it would be an athletic trainer, manual/massage therapist or chiropractor — they can really look at your physical structure as well as musculature and help balance things out. Dry needling is one natural therapy than can alleviate muscle soreness and pain. 

6. Start Back Slowly

When you start running again, do so on softer surfaces and work your way up slowly. A lot of times we increase our mileage too fast, which can cause re-injury or another running injury. Therefore, simply increase only 10 percent a week in your running volume or athletic volume or whatever you’re doing.

You can trust me on all of this about rehabbing from common running injuries and athletic injuries, because not only am I a physician, I’m a former triathlete, runner, swimmer and cyclist. So I feel your pain when it comes to running injuries! I’ve had them before, and I’ve rehabbed myself and thousands of patients as well.

Read Next: 7 Natural Solutions for Healing a Heel Spur

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