Scientifically, there has been little evidence that suggests static-stretching before an activity actually decreases injury, with most studies showing benefits that include at least one other effective co-intervention, such as warm-ups or leg-swings.

Is it bad to stretch? As clinicians we often tell patients to do various stretches if a muscle is tight enough to alter one’s biomechanics while moving. Stretching is a good way to increase a muscle’s length and improve one’s biomechanics of movement (which will prevent injuries), but it should not be done immediately before exercise. It is best to stretch on “off” days, when one has sufficient time to recover after an intense stretching session.


Warming up is usually defined as a light activity to:

  1. Increase one’s heart rate and circulation
  2. Lightly load the muscles to prepare it for the stress of physical activity
  3. Increase the temperature of the tissues to increase compliance

There are some who believe increased compliance of a tissue can help prevent injuries. Similar to stretching, there is no robust evidence to support warm-ups helping prevent injuries. Sometimes, overdoing a warm-up (similar to over stretching) can potentially do more harm than good.

A general good pointer to warm-ups is that they should be pain-free, should increase your heart-rate (guidelines suggest 50-60% of your maximum heart rate) and should target muscles you are going to use during the activity.


A common myth of running shoes is that its cushioning prevents running injuries by reducing the shocks to one’s body. However, scientific evidence has found that the body would adapt its impact absorbing behaviour (to absorb more or less shocks) based on the hardness of the shoe. Thus the more cushioning one has, the less the body tries to lessen the impact of the ground on the foot/body. This is one of the reasoning behind the recent rise of the “minimalistic” shoes; it trains the body to better absorb shocks, without over-reliance on a shoe’s cushioning effects.


Most running injuries are caused by a combination of excessive stress on the tissues and bad biomechanics. Many injuries happen after a sudden change in training – getting back to running after a long time of rest, or suddenly increasing one’s training volume/intensity. Time away from being active can lead to muscle imbalances as well as a decreased ability for the muscle to absorb shocks, due to decreased strength.

Muscle imbalances in strength and flexibility causes changes in the body’s biomechanics that may not be apparent in day to day activity; however they are magnified when one starts to run or when one changes one’s running intensity. These eventually put excessive loading on certain parts of the body – be it a tendon, a ligament, or the cartilages of your knee; injuries happen once the tissue can no longer support the excessive loading.

Thus, it is important when getting back into running to follow a graded and gradual program, in addition to training and correcting the body’s muscle imbalances in flexibility and strength.

The clinicians at Physiohaus can help identify your muscle imbalances and problem areas in your running cycle. Not only do we offer a comprehensive assessment, but our Runlab may be a great fit for you in your quest to return to running!

You can contact us from our website if you have any questions or comments regarding running injuries!