The weather is finally nice enough to run outdoors regularly—just in time for the Never Forget 5k and 1-mile Fun Run/Walk. This event in Lancaster is a great chance to get out and stretch your legs after a long winter. The race raises money for scholarships for emergency responder’s families, commemorating their work during 9/11. Of course, you’ll need to be extra careful to prevent running injuries, especially if you’re just returning to races after the long winter.

Several common running injuries like Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, stress fractures, ankle sprains, and plantar fasciitiscan keep you from racing. Each of these develops from overuse or improper training, slowly worsening with time and impairing your ability to run effectively. However, you can avoid these painful problems and participate in the Never Forget 5k, or any other race, without difficulty if you take care of your feet now.

Invest in the right shoes. Footwear that supports your arch and provides some shock absorption helps protect your lower limbs from hard impacts. Worn out pairs can increase your risk for an injury, so replace them. Make sure you condition your lower limbs, too. This means properly warming up, building strength, and completing a cool-down. Perform strengthening exercises as you train to increase the amount of force and impact your feet can handle. Make sure you do dynamic stretches and exercises to get your muscles active and ready. After your run, walk and stretch to cool down, so that your muscles don’t tighten and cause pain.

Remember to listen to your body, too. If your feet are uncomfortable or feel tired, don’t ignore them. Slow down or try walking. Pushing through pain is a common way runners sideline themselves. Instead, take care of your feet and finish the race strong. If you’re struggling with frequent pain as you exercise, investigate the source before the problem gets worse. Let our team of experts here at Martin Foot and Ankle help you. Contact our Hanover, Lancaster Lititz, and York, PA, offices by using the request form on our website or by calling (717) 757-3537.

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