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Running tips that prevent injury, just for female runners


Thursday, 6 April 2017 :  Women have a wider pelvis than men and their femur is angled inwards more than men, rendering their knee less stable.

A difference in strength between the forward-facing thigh muscles (quadriceps) and the rear-facing thigh muscles (hamstrings) in women further predispose women to knee and lower leg injuries.

Hormonal changes associated with different phases of the menstrual cycle is also known to affect the integrity of ligaments, connective tissues and some aspects of neuromuscular control integral to running.

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is an orthopaedic surgeon from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, who specialises in foot, ankle and sports injuries.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

This condition is caused by pain beneath the patella (knee cap) as it glides over the femoral notch (groove in the femur/thigh bone). This has been attributed in part to weak quadriceps muscles resulting in poor tracking of the patella over the femoral groove.

Women runners, in particular, have been shown to have weaker hip abductors and external rotator muscles that contribute to poor patella tracking and PFPS.

PFPS can be prevented with hip and quadriceps strengthening exercises (lying down sideways and lifting the leg away from midline, straight-leg raise exercise).

Stress fractures

Seemingly innocuous activities like running with repetitive loading can result in stress fractures as the strength of even normal bones is surpassed. Rather than gender inequality, stress fractures are more common in high-intensity female runners and those with biomechanically abnormal feet (high arched feet predisposes one to fifth metatarsal stress fractures and tight calf muscles may predispose to metatarsal stress fractures).

Avoid running until the fracture has healed and support the injured foot with an orthotic (insole, wedge or heel cup) and supportive shoes is important.

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or ‘shin splints’

Typically resulting in pain across the inside of the shin, this condition is classically associated with runners, with women having a slightly higher prevalence than men.

Less experienced runners are more prone to this condition as new scientific evidence shows that it is due to repeated stress across the front of the tibia, which gradually resolves as the bone thickens (remodels) once the beginner runner acclimatises to running.

Avoid running once the pain develops as persevering can result in stress syndromes/fractures. Build up a running routine and pace in a graduated fashion, allowing for the bone and muscles to condition itself.

Strengthening the calf and shin muscles helps reduce the impact on the bone as one runs and helps reduce the risk of shin splints.

Source : Internet

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