Does your child just love track and cross-country? Do you love running yourself?
Because of the high use and impact on your feet and ankles, injuries are likely to happen in cross-country and track. You’ve probably had such an injury before yourself.
But, it’s not always clear why these happen. And you’d like to know what you can do to help your child prevent that injury from happening in the first place. Because if you wait until it actually happens, then they have to rest. That’s hard to do when you’re used to being active.
What should you do to keep your feet and ankles safe and healthy in cross-country and track?
Check out the tips below:
Stretch and Strengthen Your Calves
The most common, and one of the most devastating, running injuries you or your child could experience is plantar fasciitis. This injury comes from overtraining, overuse, and improper footwear.
To prevent this injury, your child should have a stretching and weightlifting routine for their calves. They should also do other regular strengthening exercise for their foot.
It’s the best long-term solution to prevent foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
When it comes to running injuries, we really can’t stress supportive footwear enough. That goes doubly if your child runs lots of long distances, and if they enjoy running during the offseason as a hobby.
It’s tempting to skimp and get the footwear that’s on sale. However, remember that you could be costing your child several trips to the doctor and time off during the most crucial part of their season.
Avoiding Always Running on the Same Side of the Road
This one sounds a bit strange at first, but hear us out. If your child runs on the same sidewalk every time they practice on their own, they stress the same regions of their body. Your IT band, which runs down the outside of your knee, can constantly get the stress (and especially so when running downhill).
When it gets too stressed for extended periods of time (weeks and months), it starts to get very sore and painful. In fact, it can get so sore and painful that it’s difficult just to walk.
So switching up how and where you run helps distribute the stress throughout your body.
Run On Soft-Impact Surfaces
Running on hard surfaces, like asphalt and concrete puts higher stress on your lower legs. Running on these surfaces for months or weeks at a time can lead to shin splints.
If your child loves to run on their own time, encourage them to run on trails or grass when possible.
Watch for Uneven Surfaces
As you get tired, it becomes more difficult to focus and concentrate. More mistakes happen. You don’t perform your best.
That’s when it’s easier to stop paying attention to the ground in front of you and to step in a hole and twist your ankle. Remind your child to be observant of their environment.
You can’t prevent every running injury. And when you do have one, it’s important you learn what’s causing it so you can choose a different course of action less likely to aggravate that injury in the future.
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