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Exercise Injuries Below the Belt

Tips for reducing lower body injuries

The legs are athletic workhorses, prone to injuries from overuse and accidents. The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Sports Medicine offers the following advice to help protect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet during sports and exercise:

  • Wear proper footwear for an activity, such as running shoes for running and basketball shoes for basketball.
  • If you have flat feet or high arches, wear shoe inserts to support your feet. You may need to wear the inserts for brief periods of time at first, because it may take a couple of weeks to become accustomed to wearing them.
  • Tape or brace your ankles for more stability.
  • Before you exercise, always warm up and carefully stretch the muscles needed for certain exercises or sports. Be sure your muscles are warm before you stretch, because cold muscles are more prone to injury, according to some studies.
  • Start training slowly and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually; don’t take part in activities above your skill level.
  • Avoid running on uneven surfaces or trail running.


Reviewed on September 24, 2010

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