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Run Injury Free

June 22, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

With the warm weather upon us many people are getting outside and adding running to their fitness regimen. One of the most common injuries associated with running is tightness in the the illiotibial band (a strong band of fascia that runs from the glute medias to the knee joint). To avoid this and remain in top form, you should consider incorporating ankle band exercises into your dynamic warm up.

Before each run you should take a few minutes to do a dynamic warm up (not static stretching) in which you continuously move the body through ranges of motion. Make sure you include ankle band exercises in your warm up.  These exercises will strengthen the gluteus medias muscle in your butt, which is important because this muscle attaches to the illiotibial band, which attaches to the knee. By strengthening the gluteus medias you enable that muscle to have a stronger contraction on the illotibial band, which helps track the knee better during running and does not allow the knee to cave in with each step.  This caving in can result in various overuse injuries such as illotibial band syndrome.

To perform these exercises, wrap an elastic ankle band or tube around your ankles.  Keeping your legs straight and your toes pointing straight ahead (not opening up and becoming duck footed), take short lateral steps (side to side walking), first leading with the right foot for 15 yards.  Repeat leading with the left foot.  Do two sets for each foot.  Do not allow the upper body to shift side to side during this exercise—make sure you keep your posture upright and tall.

This simple exercise will go a long way to keep you healthy on the road.

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