Ortho Blogs

Avoiding Winter Running Injuries in York

Ortho Blogs

Avoiding Winter Running Injuries in York

Now that daylight is at a premium, all of those wanting to keep up the mileage during the winter will likely be doing some running in the dark. This will undoubtedly increase the risk of injury from both poor running surfaces and morning traffic. Although it is much more difficult to roll out of bed in the morning when it is cold and dark outside, your spring running will be thankful for the extra effort during this time of year.

Last year, we saw several ankle fractures from the icy conditions. Most ankle fractures did not occur during the snow storms. They typically occurred several days afterward when there was a warm day followed by a cold night. This allowed snow to melt, covering walkways, then turning to ice overnight. Therefore, be careful on those cold mornings that follow warmer sunny days. Expect walkways to be slippery!

Being a Defensive Runner to Avoid an Accident

Although I generally try to assume the best in people, an exception to this is running in the dark. You will be better off if you are a ‘defensive runner’. Assume drivers are late for work, texting, or sipping on a sugary caffeinated beverage and not paying attention to the road. Run on the left hand side of the road to see oncoming traffic. And remember, someone nearing an intersection is NOT expecting runner to approach them from the side. They are going to take a quick look for a headlight and continue on their way.

Proper Equipment for Winter Running

Reflective vests are a must for running in the dark. Don’t count on white clothing or reflective portions of your running gear alone to make you stand out enough to avoid a collision. There are also reflective vests that have lights in them. This is particularly helpful during that window of time when the sun is starting to rise and motorists may not have their lights on to illuminate your vest.

I personally like to wear a headlamp. This is used more to alert oncoming vehicle, rather than illuminating the running surface ahead. A top strap is a nice feature, as this will allow you to loosen the head strap, making the headlamp more comfortable. Also, a blinking red taillight is a good idea to alert approaching motorists behind you. Finally, I prefer a lamp that is rechargeable. Recent improvements in lithium ion technology now make this a better option than replacement batteries.

So go ahead and get out there on those cold, dark mornings. Set an alarm clock away from your bed to force you out from under your warm covers. But before you do so, please consider some of the above recommendations to keep you safer on your morning jaunt.

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