How To Avoid Reinjury for Runners

“When can I start running again?”

That’s the number one question I hear from injured runners as a Physical Therapist.

Runners recovering from injury often think that if they’re walking well, they’re ready to run again. Don’t make that mistake! You will likely get reinjured if you push yourself too soon.

How do you know when it’s safe to run again?

There’s a test I use with all my injured runners. It’s simple to do and easy to score (pass/fail). The primary goal is to gauge if the legs can take impact.

Watch this video to learn more:

Assess Your Injury with a Ladder Test

This test uses an agility ladder. If you don’t have one, just imagine it. Start with a simple jog, putting one foot in each box of the agility ladder. Make your way down and back on the ladder for two minutes.

Does anything hurt? Tightness is okay but pain is not.

If you feel good, test yourself in a different direction. Jog sideways on the ladder down and back for two minutes.

Still not feeling pain? Move on to the third test.

Zigzag down the ladder for two minutes, doing two feet in and one foot out. This introduces some torsion and torque through the injury. You can also use a line on the floor instead of a ladder.

Passing the ladder test indicates that it’s safe to begin a formal return to run plan. The next step is to begin with a 10-minute feeler run or two 5-minute feeler runs.

The Takeaway

If you start running too soon after injury, you will likely get reinjured. The ladder test is an essential step to determine if you’re ready to run.

As you recover from injury, it’s important to prioritize active rehab.

At RunSmart, we focus on helping runners prevent and rehabilitate injuries with runner-specific workouts. Try our full injury protocol and strength workouts to run injury-free!

Ready to Run Injury-Free?

Learn how you unlock injury-free running with this free webinar from Physical Therapist, Steve Gonser.

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