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Use Yoga to Help Heal Running Injuries

Use Yoga to Heal Running Injuries

Using Yoga to Aid in Healing Running Injuries

Picture this: A year long wait for a cross country race. A yearlong practice for a shining medal. You’re only a week away from your final performance. It’s Friday. All fit and hearty, you drive out to spend the evening with your friends when it happens. Trying to save the little dog, you bump your car into the tree and fracture your leg. Damn the dog! He is okay, while you are advised a bed rest for at least a month.

Injuries often come unexpected, but some are common to athletes, and hence, can be prevented with some precaution. I’m talking about the lesser evils than a fracture which are virtually more traumatizing.

After reading this article, you’ll be equipped to handle them on your own and become a better runner. So, let’s get set, and Bang!

Runner’s Knee

In simple terms, it is a sharp pain felt below the knee cap due to extra load on the knee. Now, since I too possess an athletic build, I know something like “extra load” does not exist in a runner’s body.

So, the runner’s knee is not because of the load as they tell you. It’s because of the weak quadriceps (front thigh muscles) which are unable to bear the weight after exertion.

Hence, the trick to avert this danger is to stretch and strengthen quads regularly through Ashtanga yoga poses.

Precautionary Yoga poses:

1. Hero pose or Virasana for stretching

2. Crescent lunge pose or Anjaneyasana for deep stretching and strengthening

Can I run through it?

For short distances?? Yes. However, ideally you should not. Rest is necessary.

Recovery (What if I still get one):

1. Take rest. Before reverting to your original fitness routine, consider strengthening leg muscles through swimming.

2. Run for short distances to build up strength.

3. Go for uphill trail running. Avoid downhill, as it will enhance pressure on knees.

Achilles Tendinitis

It was heartbreaking for me to watch Achilles dying in the Hollywood movie Troy because of his weak ankle. I wondered even after knowing that was his weakest part, why didn’t he spare some time stretching it.

I hope you don’t want to lose a race on account of a weak tendon.

You stretch the calf and feet muscles, but the “connecting” ankle is left un-accessed each time. Achilles tendon, a crucial part of a runner’s body, often goes unnoticed till a swelling draws your attention to its presence. A severe pain just above your ankle, even when you’re not running.

Introducing few yoga poses in your workout will help you access your Achilles tendon and keep it strong. However, do not overstretch. Ever.

Mild tension is a good sign, but beginning of a pain is where you should stop.

Precautionary Yoga poses:

1. Downward facing dog pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana (with wedge below the heels) for stretching

2. One legged (seated) Forward fold pose or Eka Pada Paschimottanasana for deep stretching (Tip: Keep the knee of stretched out leg slightly bent to emphasize more on ankle stretching)

Can I run through it?

No! It is a delicate tissue which might rupture if you overexert.

Recovery (What if I still get one):

1. Take at least a two week off and invest time in icing your sore ankle.

2. To get back to your fitness routine, begin by cycling, an activity that puts less stress on the ankle.

3. Get a new pair of shoes, ones with lifted heel and extra cushioning to support the curve of sole.

Hamstring Issues

Hamstring issues are a pain in butt – both figuratively and literally.

It is a sudden chronic pain you feel in the back of your thigh which sometimes extends to your buttock. This discomfort is quite a common scene with normal joggers or even couch potatoes who spend long hours sitting in one position.

Think of hamstrings like elastic bands pinned to your lower butt on one end and back of the knee on the other. Due to long hours of inactivity or insufficient stretching, hamstrings lose their flexibility and strain the leg.

Below are two yoga poses to help bypass this situation.

Precautionary Yoga poses:

1. Happy baby pose or Ananda Balasana for stretching

2. Half Lord of Fishes Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana for deep stretching

Can I run through it?

If it comes and goes – yes. If it is sharp and spear-like – absolutely not.

Recovery (What if I still get one):

1. Go for a good amount of rest, ice your leg and keep it elevated.

2. Before heading back to treadmill, jump into the pool and do some pool running to see if it is healed properly.

3. Warm up well before any race. Do not forget to stretch and strengthen your hip and thigh muscles properly.

This info would not only come handy during practice runs, but in course of time, would help you improve your form. So, if you find it useful, don’t forget to pass on the wisdom.

May you run like a gazelle waving all your injuries away.

All the best!

Rock the race!!

mansiAuthor Bio:

Hi! I’m Mansi, an Ashtanga Yoga devotee at home and an Editor at Workout Trends. Dabbling with health and fitness news is my work while playing around with poses and poetry my passion. Reach out to me at @iam_mansi or add me to your Google circles and stay in touch.

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  4. susan says:

    Such an informative article. I have always wanted to get into yoga, and seeing all of the benefits I really should do it.

  5. Patty says:

    The hubby is the runner in the family and he tried that hot yoga for his knee problems but turns out they are too severe and it looks like a knee replacement is in his future.

  6. Jenna Wood says:

    I most often have hamstring issues- Thanks for the great tips to help me polish my yoga skills and make the most use of my positions!

  7. Dede says:

    I damaged my ankle by running and had to stop doing any walking/running exercises for a long time. Now my body is so out of shape I’m scared to try again. Thanks for the tip on yoga. I love doing yoga and this might help to strengthen those muscles again.

  8. I love yoga. It is a great way to help all of my muscles feel better.

  9. Great tips! I have donned the shoes and am jogging again (working up to more running) and the excess weight is so hard on my joints. I need to start back on yoga and pilates to stretch and strengthen all those areas.

  10. Barb W. says:

    I’ve wanted to try yoga for some time now. Didn’t realize it was also beneficial for healing injuries. Very helpful information!

  11. says:

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    Keep up the great writing.

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