Avoiding injuries common in active women

November 25, 2016

DrPayneLGIt’s no secret that most women juggle many responsibilities, whether with work, family, friendships, volunteerism or all of the above.

Some women can carve out time for fitness, and others have built-in activity, such as sprinting to meetings, walking their kids to school, or simply running errands.

No matter the reason, women should take the time to care for themselves — and that means paying attention to their bodies’ signals.

Shaky ground

All that rushing around — sometimes in heels — can take its toll. Extended time on the feet, especially without supportive shoes, can lead to plantar fasciitis according to Jeffrey Payne, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Faribault. “The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot. Planter fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain, especially with the first few steps in the morning. It is common in runners, but can also occur in people who stand or walk for long periods of time. Plantar fasciosis, which indicates degeneration within the plantar fascia, is the preferred terminology for people who have experienced several weeks of pain.”

Another common issue women can face is patellofemoral pain syndrome, which Dr. Payne describes as pain located in the front of the knee around the knee cap. This can develop from a sudden change in activity such as starting a running or walking program. “Patellofemoral pain syndrome is also referred to as runner’s knee, but in addition to running and walking, people can also experience pain with activities such as walking down stairs, squatting, or with prolonged sitting,” says Dr. Payne.

So, ladies, much can go wrong in the hustle and bustle of life. But the good news is you can make it right.

Providers and prevention

If you are having ongoing joint or muscle pain, you should see your provider. Dr. Payne says there are many ways providers can help.

“We look at people’s footwear, and what kind of training and physical activities they’re performing,” says Dr. Payne. “Among other things, we check for alignment issues and evaluate people for asymmetries in muscle strength and flexibility. We then work with the person on specific strengthening and stretching exercises to correct the underlying issues which were leading to their pain. People often benefit from a walking or running video analysis in order to evaluate and make changes in their form to help prevent or recover from an injury.”

Otherwise, you can prevent many issues and injuries by taking care of yourself in a few ways.

Dr. Payne says to gradually ease into a new workout routine. “If you’re starting a new workout program, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase your activity to try to avoid injury and obtain your fitness goals. In addition, make sure you have appropriate shoes for your activities, which can help prevent heel and knee pain from occurring,” he says.

If you experience muscle or joint discomfort, the first thing you can do is try to give it, and yourself, some rest.

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