Tag Archives: Ankle

The Perfect Running : Runners Posture

What is the perfect running posture? Runners have always sort the answer to that question.

I found this picture with a good illustration on a good posture during running.

running-runners-body-posture

Qualities of a Good Marathon Running Shoe

With so many running shoe brands out there, what makes a good running shoe? It is said the most important running gear is the shoe. You get it right and it will save you lots of energy and prevent you from injury.

These are the qualities of a good marathon running shoe

  1. Fit. A good shoe must fit your feet like a sock, no room to allow movement of the feet. But it should not be tight that you feel pressure.
  2. Cushioning. Running can be hard on feet and joints. Shoes should provide enough cushioning to absorb impact.
  3. Stability. A stable shoe controls motion in the ankle. At one time I bought a Nike and went running with it but I felt very uncomfortable running in it, when I checked it I discovered the heel was to high.
  4. Flexibility. The front of the shoe should flex enough to let the runner push off with the ball of the foot.
  5. Breathability. Shoes that dissipate sweat quickly keep feet cooler and reduce the risk of bacterial or fungal infection.

  6. Weight. The lighter the shoe, the better – as long as cushioning and stability don’t suffer.

Running : Ankle Injury : Cause and Treatment

An ankle injury is also known as an ankle sprain, twisted ankle, rolled ankle, ankle sprain  injury or ankle ligament injury. An ankle injury  is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle, usually on the outside of the ankle.

Purpose of ankle ligaments

Ligaments are bands of tissue—like rubber bands—that connect one bone to another and bind the joints together. In the ankle joint, ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement.

Cause of Ankle Injury

In running, ankle injury result from a sudden twist or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of it’s normal position. This commonly happens when running on uneven surfaces. Runners who run on trails tend to suffer more from ankle injuries. Running on worn out running shoes can cause a twisted ankle.

Signs and Symptoms on Ankle Injuries
The signs and symptoms of ankle injuries may include: Pain, Swelling, stiffness and difficulty when walking.

Treatment of Ankle Injury

1. Rest – take a break from running

2. Ice – to help reduce swelling

3. Bandage (compression) – bandages gives the ankle support and helps reduce swelling, pain and further injury.

If the pain doesn’t go away, see your doctor

End of 7th Week of Marathon Training: Rest, Rest and more Rest

The last week I have ran only twice, the first run was a Jog on Wednesday followed by another Jog on Thursday. By my standards this was very low but it was necessary because I suffered an ankle strain on my right leg during my last 35K long run and the last thing I need now (35 days to go  before 2008 Nairobi marathon) is to suffer a serious running injury due to over training.

Over training  causes serious running injury

A good example of how running injuries are caused by over training was the large number of injured marathon runners at Beijing Summer Olympics. In the women’s marathon Paula Radcliffe ran with a strained thigh, American Deena Kostar dropped out the race after 3 miles suffering from a foot injury. Japanese Mizuki Noguchi who was favourite to win the women’s marathon did not make it to the start line after she withdrew citing fatigue. In the mens event Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya was my favourite to win the gold, but he withdrew on the eve of the race citing a thigh injury that had refused to go away.

Having these facts in my mind, I decided to focus on injury prevention. This is what I did during the week

1. Cut down on my weekly runs.

2. Iced my ankles

3. Used an anti-inflammation spray to speed recovery

4. Massaged the ankles

Marathon runners are prone to suffer running injuries due to over training because the nature of the sport is  that you need to accumulate lots of distance to be ready for an event. It is a volume business.

An interesting book I have seen on Amazon on this issue is

Running Injury Free, How to Prevent and Treat

Fitness Test: 10 Test to Check How Fit You are

After a long summer break, teams playing in the English Soccer Premier league have been getting their players fit for the new season. Top teams such as Manchester united, Asernal F.C, Chelsea F.C and Liverpoool F.C have a strict fitness test to see whether a players’ off season involved too many pints or he is still a goal machine.

I was tidying up my bedroom when I came across a 2005 copy of Mens Health magazine which had the following fitness test by Dr. Charlotte Cowie, head of medical services at Tottenham Hotspsur FC.

1. Fitness of Your Knees  

Sore and painful knees are a bad sign. Swelling or wasting can indicate problems especially with cruciate ligaments of knee cartilage. Such problems require professional attention.

2. Ankle Fitness Test

Are they aching? Ankle wear and tear is inevitable in sports. But accelerated degeneration is a red light. Look for swelling or poor movement.

To restore strength stand on one leg, shut your eyes, and try to hold it. Do a minute on each leg.

3. Groin Muscle Fitness Test

Groin injuries result from over use of the adductor muscles. Recovery mainly requires rest. Beware sit-ups, which can exacerbate groin strain.

4. Do Sprints to Test your Fitness

A fit soccer player should be able to sprint 10m in under two seconds.

5. Vertical Jump Test  

How high you can jump is a sign of how fit you are. The higher the better.

6. A bleep Test

A bleep test basically measures aerobic capacity.

7. How easily can you stand on one leg

Good athletes need to have good balance. Improve yours by standing on one leg while you are brushing your teeth.

8. Your resting heart rate

As an endurance athlete you develop an athlete’s heart which is different to the non athletes heart. Athletes have a low resting pulse rate of under 50 beats per minute.

9. Blood Pressure Test

If you have a very high blood pressure, its worth investigating

10. Your Body Fat Test

The body fat of a top player is 9%. Being lighter saves a runner tons of energy. Lance Armstrong plans to show up at 2008 NYC marathon 4Kg lighter than last year. The lighter you are the faster you can run.

Hypothermia: Dangers of Running under Extreme Cold Rain

It was Dalai Lama who said ” When you are faced with a question on right and wrong you need to rely on your common sense, conscious and scientific knowledge”

Today morning I had to decide whether to run or not to run. It was raining heavily outside and running under rain looked like a romantic idea but I decided against running under the cold rain because the last time I ran under rain my legs felt tired and my lungs kept panting. I returned back to the house midway the run!

What is Hypothermia?

When the body is exposed to extreme weather condition like cold rain water, the risk of hypothermia goes up.

Hypothermia is the rapid and drastic chilling of the body’s core temperature (normally 98.6 degrees F) during adverse conditions, and begins when the body loses heat faster than it can be replaced.

As the body temperature drops because of exposure to cool air and cold water, things begin to happen in a predictable sequence. As one’s temperature drops, the heart begins to slow, and the victim becomes weak and confused as less oxygen is delivered throughout the body.

When oxygen is not delivered to your leg muscles, the muscles can’t relax and contract efficiently and running becomes difficult.

Protecting yourself from Hypothermia

You can do what I did, be reasonable and cancel your running plan.

Cathereine With Body ProtectionOn my way to work every morning I meet with elite Kenyan runners training under cold rain. They are always dressed in heavy jacket, gloves and a hood over their head and neck. The jacket, glove and hood gear is because, according to sports experts, the greatest heat loss is from the head and neck, The other “hot spots” that lose heat most rapidly are the groin and the sides of the chest.

The historic sinking of the Titanic in 1912 is a dramatic example of hypothermia’s effect. When the great ocean liner started sinking, passengers put on their life jackets and headed for the lifeboats. When rescue ships arrived two hours later, most of the people in the lifeboats were alive, but none of the almost 1,500 people floating in the 32 degree F water (still wearing those life jackets) lived.

Picture: Patrick Cowden/Marathonguide 

Ankle Sprain : Cause and Treatment

A friend of mine has been training for a 10K run being organized by his employer. The guy is new to running and last evening he called me to tell me that he sprained his ankle and needed my help.

An ankle sprain is the most common of all ankle injuries. According to sports medicine website an ankle sprain occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. The numerous ligaments around the ankle can become pulled and torn when the ankle is forced into a position not normally encountered.

Cause of Ankle Sprain

1. If you are new to running, and your ankle was only used to walking, sooner or later you will suffer an ankle injury

2. Running on an even surface, rocks, potholes cause the ankle to turn and twist resulting in an injury.

3. Hill running. The first time I suffered an ankle sprain was when I tried hill running. Uphill running involves a lot of effort, and the pressure is felt in the ankles.

Treatment of ankle sprain

The first line of defense for a running injury is applying ice. The icing helps to reduce the swelling. Remember too much ice may lead to frost bite so read my post on how to ice an injury.

After icing you can then apply heat rub. Avoid activities that strain the ankle. Keep the ankle active by exercising. My favourite ankle exercise is to draw the letters of the alphabet with my toes.

Any ankle injury that does not respond to basic treatment of ice and heat in 1-2 weeks may be more serious. See your Doctor!