More than 18 million runners will get injured this year, and the most common banged-up body part will be the knee. According to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, tight hamstrings, repetitive high impact, and overtraining are the most common causes of knee traumas—and (good news) they’re all preventable. Here’s how.
STRETCH IT OUT “Inflexible hamstrings put added stress on your knees,” says Stephen Messier, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and the director of Wake Forest University’s Runners’ Clinic. The Easy Fix: Do hamstring stretches after every run.
REPLACE YOUR SNEAKERS Cushioning wears out over time, reducing its shock absorption. The Easy Fix: Buy new kicks every 500 miles.
BUMP IT UP SLOWLY “Increasing your mileage too soon puts added tension on your knees,” says Messier. The Easy Fix: Increase your total distance by no more than 5 percent each week.