Spring time will be here shortly and out will come the droves of runners filling up the path along Lakeshore Drive. Before the craziness starts and you find yourself bobbing and weaving around Chicago, I wanted to give you a leg up on how to prepare so you can stay healthy, balanced and active.
- Foam Roller. A Foam Roller is used by many athletes to apply pressure to areas of muscles which may be tight or sore. By applying this pressure, you are able to simulate manual therapy (massage) which in turns helps your muscles recover as well as stay elastic and healthy. Large Foam Rollers are made for the home/gym and smaller ones that fit into your gym bag. Also, they are relatively inexpensive staring at around $15.00.
- Ice Pack. This should be a no-brainer. An ice pack is used to help decrease inflammation and pain. Use the ice pack for 10-15 minutes, take a 20 minute break then repeat. Just remember to use a layer or two of paper towels or cloth between your skin and the ice pack to prevent frost bite. Ice packs are inexpensive and a good one can be found online for $10.00. If you are a new patient at my clinic, you get one for free!!
- Proper Shoes. Probably the most important necessity for a runner is correct foot ware. Too many times runners wear shoes that promote a dysfunctional gait/stride which in turn creates muscle strains in the lower legs and bottom of the feet. My suggestion is talk to a professional who is able to assess your arch height, ankle position and distribution of weight. Also, a few running stores now offer excellent consultation to runners and do a fine job in their assessments and recommendations. Look into Fleet Feet, I am one of the Chiropractors for them and use them regularly for my patients.
- Analgesic. Topical analgesics are used to relieve minor aches and pains in muscles and joints. The active ingredients “distract” your brain from the pain signals being sent from an inflammed area. Please realize that analgesics do not fix the inflammed area, only provide temporary relief. Nonetheless, analgesics work well with foam rolling and ice packs. I use Biofreeze which is about $15/tube.
- TENS Unit. TENS is a non-invasive, low-risk nerve stimulator intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic. Many athletes already experience electrical stimulation sometime in life and recognize that it is an effective form of therapy. Although TENS units can be very expensive, a basic model suitable for most people can be found starting at $50.00 online. No prescription necessary.