Running is addictive, there’s nothing like the buzz that you get from putting one foot in front of the other for miles and miles, it feels great. But is pounding the streets the best way to improve your running?
1) Pain, stiffness, or aching in the achilles when first starting exercise that eases off after you’ve warmed up.
2) Pain, stiffness, or aching in the achilles after exercise when you’ve cooled down.
3) Pain, stiffness, or aching in the achilles for the first few steps in the morning.
It’s important to be physically active and avoid injuries at the same time. This is especially important for a “weekend warrior”. If you are sedentary or your job forces you to sit at a desk for most of the day, it’s extremely important to plan ahead in order to avoid exercise-related injuries. After all, the human body can’t go from “zero to hero” unless it’s been trained to do that. In other words it’s hard to go from being inactive to being a weekend warrior in an instant.
Runners and non runners alike will likely have heard of this condition. Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a common affliction in runners between 35-55 years of age.
It presents as pain or burning in the foot and heel, and can be especially bad for those first few steps in the morning. It can be very limiting to the training program of beginner and experienced runners.
Most people are aware of the fact that the structure of the foot can cause foot pain and many have gait (manner of walking) analysis, foot assessment and orthotics made, but what about other causes that come from above the foot, higher up the chain?
Does your daily routine including taking a glucosamine supplement?
Recent studies suggest you might be wasting your money.
Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide (sugar) made within the body and found in numerous tissues including the kidneys, liver and cartilage. It is a common diet supplement, widely used for osteoarthritis, joint pain and soft tissue injuries due to the belief it promotes cartilage repair. However, there are no reputable studies that explain how glucosamine works in the body. While advocates of glucosamine report a reduction in pain and swelling, quicker soft-tissue healing and prophylactic protection against damage to cartilage, we do not know exactly how glucosamine works these wonders.
In fact, recent studies are finding the popular supplement may in reality have no effect at all.
For example, a 2005 Canadian study found that when patients, who were taking glucosamine for knee osteoarthritis and reporting at least moderate relief of pain, had no difference in outcome when they were switched to a placebo.
Studies out of Belgium suggest that although glucosamine is easily absorbed by the body, recommended treatment doses (for example, 1,500 mg/day) barely reach the required therapeutic concentration in plasma and tissue.
The authoratative NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence who provides guidelines for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has also taken glucosamine off the list of recommendations for the management of Osteoarthritis.
Another supplement which may be more beneficial, better researched and proven is fish oil, which has a natural anti-inflammatory effect.
Your money may be better spent on this instead.
Henrotin et al (2012). Is there any scientific evidence for the use of glucosamine in the management of human osteoarthritis? Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:201. http://arthritis-research.com/content/14/1/201
Juni et al (2010). Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ 2010;341:c4675
Running injuries usually occur when the in-built suspension mechanism of the lower limb has been compromised.
Running itself relies on a complex interaction between many different joints of your body. To make it simpler, we will focus on just the lower limb. Just take a moment and guess the number of foot bones that are involved in running?
Let’s take a guess, 10, 20, 30?
There are 26 bones and 33 joints. That is just in the foot alone. These go up to 33 bones and 39 joints if we stop counting at the pelvic area.
These bones and joints work together to allow us to run and walk upright in many different terrains or surfaces. From flat surfaces to rocky surfaces whilst being perched on 2 sticks (legs), essentially a top heavy humpty dumpty.
How do we accomplish this? Your body has developed joints to buffer and accommodate these changes in weight bearing like a car suspension – your ankles, knees and hips are effectively that.
Why do we have that many foot and ankles bones? They are to give stress forces a break so that we can resolve and accommodate the ground tension and our body weight plus gravity.
Runner’s injuries are usually caused by these buffering/ shock absorption zones of the lower limb not functioning.