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Preventing Common Cross-Country Injuries

As the fall sports season kicks into high gear, sports injuries also become highly prevalent, and cross-country runners risk injury just as much as athletes in contact sports such as football or soccer.

Injuries in the hip, knees, and ankles can become commonplace if proper precautions are not taken. Proper footwear is the first step in injury prevention, as cross-country runners should be wearing athletic shoes specifically geared for long-distance running, as wearing the incorrect shoes can lead to foot injuries in both the short and long-term. Shoes should also be replaced every 300-500 miles as the pressure from running causes them to wear down and lose effectiveness.

A second component to injury prevention is correct stretching. The first step is to focus on the muscle groups most commonly used, including both the legs and the abdominal muscles. The second step is to understand what types of stretches are appropriate throughout the length of a competition.

Dynamic stretches prior to running, such as walking lunges, helps prepare the muscles for endurance work as well as allowing the body to work better. Traditional static stretching, such as a quad stretch, helps the muscles relax after a high-endurance challenge. These muscles will help the muscles grow and repair throughout the season. A coach or physical therapist can give an athlete proper stretching advice if he or she is unsure about the difference between dynamic and static stretching.

Any discomfort experienced during a run should be a cause for alarm. Powering through for the sake of competition might seem like a good idea in the short-term, but injuries can be made worse by neglect and continued trauma. An immediate reaction to pain or discomfort  increases the likelihood of a quick and painless heal.

Depending on the severity of the injury, practicing RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) immediately should help with discomfort, though if this method does not ease the pain, it is imperative to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis. If the injury is muscular or joint related, physical therapy is oftentimes the solution. A physical therapist will help to heal the injury as well as provide advice on future prevention so you can get back into the game as soon as possible!

We feel like we have the best physical therapists around. Did you know you don’t need a referral to get help from a Physical Therapist? Direct access is available for you, please call us and set up an evaluation so we can help get you back on your feet. In Orange County we offer Physical Therapy in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, Port Jervis, and Montgomery. Westchester County has Physical Therapy in Armonk, Bedford, and Hawthorne. In Ulster County we offer Physical Therapy in Wallkill, while in Sullivan County you can get Physical Therapy in Liberty. To round out our 12 locations in New York, those living in Rockland County can go to Physical Therapy in New City as well as Pomona.  If you happen to live in PA, we also have Physical Therapy in Milford and Dingmans Ferry of Pike County.  Give us a call today!