By Dr. Patrick Perta, D.C., R.M.T & Acupuncture Provider

  • Running in sport creates a tremendous demand upon muscles, joints, and bones of the lower limb which may result in injury
  • Common injuries of the lower extremities include: stress fractures, hamstring tendinopathy, patellofemoral syndrome, IT band friction syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and lateral ankle sprain
  • Avoiding rapid changes in training intensity, investing in quality running shoes, and consistently utilizing proper stretching techniques are relatively simple measures that can be taken to prevent overuse injuries
  • Training towards proper timing and coordination of muscle movements may be divided into three groups:
    • Exercises emphasizing lumbopelvic stability
      • Fundamental core stabilization exercises improve stability, coordination, and timing of the deep abdominal wall musculature
      • The use of a physioball enhances proprioception and encourages high levels of core stabilization
      • The importance of core strengthening exercises with athletes experiencing low back pain has been confirmed in recent research
    • Exercises emphasizing the development of balance and motor control
      • Training is particularly important for running sports that require quick changes in direction, such as football, or running on uneven surfaces
      • Performing exercises on a “rocker board” encourages development of balance, coordination, precision, and skill acquisition in a process that transfers control of muscles from conscious to unconscious control
    • Exercises improving functional strength
      • Exercises utilizing resistance cords stimulate key muscles (especially surrounding the hip), used in running
      • Step-up exercises encourage muscle stimulation shown to prevent patellofemoral pain
      • Single-leg exercises are particularly important because they encourage recruitment of muscles that are potentially weak in runners
  • Proper prevention strategies such as those mentioned in this article have the potential to add years and quality to an athlete’s career.
Dr. Perta is a chiropractor, registered massage therapist and medical acupuncture provider at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario. For more information on sports injury prevention contact HLHC at 905-853-7900 or



Liebenson, Craig. Functional training handbook. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014. Print.



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