Let's face it. This pandemic has changed everything for everyone. It's taken a major toll on people's health. But it's also hurting our workouts. Maybe you loved your group fitness classes, but now gyms closed, so you've become a runner. 

Now, that's a great way to get a workout in, while enjoying the benefits of the great outdoors. But, if you're a new runner, I want you to pay close attention to your sneakers. Because the shoes you wore for Zumba class might not work as well when you're running. Why won't a cross-trainer work well with runners? 

group of people running on treadmill

Well, here's the deal: multi-purpose sneakers tend to be heavy. Running sneakers should be light-weight. That means they won't pull you down on your runs. So you can avoid extra impact on your feet when they strike the ground. Which is why you could be doing more bad then good if you switch up your sneakers, but not your workouts. 

Now, let's talk about location. You could be a veteran runner. But you've switched to training on the treadmill to stick with social distancing. Again, I'm all about you sticking to your training in the safest way possible. But running outside is not the same as running on a treadmill. So, today, I'll walk you through some treadmill-related hazards. You need to avoid them if you're new to indoor runs. Or even if you're a regular gym rat who needs a quick refresher on the do's and don'ts of treadmill training. 

Why are treadmill injuries so common? 

Of course we all know that injuries are a part of sports and athletic pursuits. 

When you are pushing your body to the limit, you have to know that you will get hurt from time to time. We can treat many common injuries without a visit to the doctor. But self-treating can lead to missed problems. Which can leave you sidelined from runs, CrossFit or even from chasing after the kids. And that downtime could last for so much longer than would otherwise be necessary. 

Some people know the difference between a rolled or sprained ankle. But it's pretty hard to diagnose foot and ankle injuries. If you're not a podiatrist. So, please follow our guidelines for identifying and treating common treadmill injuries. But always remember: when in doubt, see your podiatrist. That's always the best and safest option. 

Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald, Exercise Review Site

What are the most common indoor running injuries?

Rolled Ankle

Rolling your ankle is not quite the same as spraining your ankle. When you roll it, your ankle just starts to turn over. You will feel a sharp pain, but your ankle will not  be pushed far enough to damage your tendons or ligaments. The best tactic for treating a rolled ankle is RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. It should be fine on its own in a few days. But, if it isn't, you may have sustained a...

Sprained Ankle 

Spraining your ankle is a slightly more severe injury, especially if you get a high ankle sprain. is a slightly more severe injury, especially if you get a high ankle sprain. This type of injury occurs when you twist your foot in a big way. Icing can be helpful, and you will need to immobilize the ankle for at least a week. You will also need to stay off your injured ankle for two to three weeks so that it can heal. And you will need to visit your podiatrist to rule out a more significant injury, like a fracture. And to make sure that your ankle is immobilized in a way that allows proper healing.  

Pulled Muscle

When hitting the treadmill, it is very common to pull a muscle in your calf or your thigh. This is especially true if you're guilty of skipping pre-workout warmups and stretches. To stay safe, try active warmups before a run. Think walking lunges, or any stretch that involves dynamic movements.

Still hurting? The best way to treat a pulled calf muscle is to stretch it out. Massage can help relieve your pain. It also brings more blood flow to your affected muscle so you heal faster. You will also need to take some time off from running. This is crucial: it's very easy to restrain a muscle. Especially if you return to full activity levels before you have healed. 

man and child running on beach

Scrapes and Cuts

If you actually fall off of the treadmill, you could cut or scrape your arm. If it is not serious, wash it out and apply antibiotic cream. You can then bandage the cut and get back to your run. And make sure to pay attention when you step on a treadmill. Falls off moving treads cause serious problems, including head injuries or even death. 

Running After an Injury

If you got hurt on your treadmill run, I know you'll be dying to get back to training. But you can't rush the process. Or you'll end up with a new injury!

Want to start running after an injury, but not sure where to start? Check out our video on the topic below. And explore these special tips from Runner's Tribe. They're here to help you mentally and physically return to the sport.

1. Wait an extra day (or two) after you think you're ready

Don't run on the first day that you feel ok. That could just launch you back on the injury rollercoaster. Instead, wait until we've cleared you for running. And you've had three straight days without pain.

2. Walk before you run

Before you take off at a sprint or jog, try a fast walk. This will help you test the muscles that support your run. But you'll do so without putting full pressure on your feet. Then, if you can walk for about an hour without pain, you'll know it's ok to pick up the pace.

3. Start slow

After a running injury, don't resume training at your former pace or distance. Remember, you went through trauma. So you might need to work harder than before, just to get the same results. For that reason, slow running is a safer choice. It lets your body remember the old motions, without putting it through too much stress.

4. Remember to rest

When you're increasing your pace or miles, you're supposed to build up in 10% weekly increments. And it's smart to follow that rule after a running injury. If you've been sidelined for a while, don't run every day. Instead, start with slow jogs. And build in rest days between sessions. Eventually, you'll be able to run up to six days a week. And that's when you can look at your pace or distance increases.

Are Indoor Runs Safe and Effective? 

Now you know what to do after a running injury, let's get back to the question of where you should run. Here's my bottom line on treadmill training sessions: Running is a great sport. That's why I try to get in jogs whenever I can, and it's why I highly encourage my patients to enjoy this form of physical activity. But treadmill injuries are extremely common. So I also recommend taking your runs outdoors whenever possible. Especially now, when we are all spending more time at home. 

If the treadmill is your best available option, of course I encourage you to stay active. All I ask is that you take care to avoid these common treadmill injuries. And come see me right away if any problems come up during or after one of your indoor training sessions. 


Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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Boris 12/06/2012 11:04 AM
This is very useful! I injured myself on my treadmill last month. I went to my doctor, he said that if I were to keep ignoring it it would reoccur. He suggested I get a blood flow stimulation wrap, very useful! I highly recommend one for anyone with an ankle injury!! Here's the link he gave me. http://www.kingbrand.com/Ankle_Injury_Treatment.php?REF=Boris1011 Good luck, hope this helps!
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