Running with a Limp

running with a limp

Right now I am training for my cross-country season. I had to take a couple of weeks off due to an ankle pain and swelling on my left foot. As of right now I am slowly beginning to run again taking it day by day.

When I run, I notice I tend to favor one leg over the other, my right leg. During last year track season, I got injured, a calf strain on my left leg. I took a good amount of time off. It wasn't fully 100 percent yet but ran my season and I notice when I ran I tended to favor my right. It eventually healed at the end of the season.

I don't know what I am doing wrong. It's impacting the way I run this year. I had high goals for myself, but they seem so distant.

Thank you for your time.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your running injuries and running with a limp.

I'll break my response down as follows:

1. Running with an injury
2. Work out what's going on with the limp
3. Don't despair

Running with an Injury

running with a limp
From what I am hearing is that you are running despite injuries. In order to address the problem and improve your running technique, it is essential to prioritize recovery and get better completely.

Continuing to run with persistent injuries will only exacerbate the problem, so it is crucial to allow ample time for the injuries to heal.

While it may be disheartening to take a break from running, it does not mean you can't do anything. You can stay active with cross-training or strength training.

Work Out What's Going On With the Limp

My assumption is that once both legs are "back to normal" the limp will be gone. It's not too strange that at the moment you are favoring your right leg when there is pain in the left leg. And it sounds like that pain has been there for a long time.

running with a limp
Your left leg might have gotten weaker due to the injury issues. In that case you could do exercises to strengthen weak muscles, improve your flexibility and correct your gait pattern.

If it is not because of the injuries and if this is how you have always been running, then you need to consider what the other possibilities are.

Could it be that your legs are not of equal length? This can affect your gait and cause your limping. Sometimes orthotics in one of the shoes can help adjust that.

For strengthening exercises, addressing imbalances and addressing your limp, I would highly recommend consulting a healthcare professional, such as a physician or physical therapist, to accurately diagnose the cause of the limp and receive appropriate treatment recommendations based on your specific situation.

Don't despair

Overcoming running injuries and associated imbalances can be a challenging journey. I know, I have been there. But it is essential to prioritize recovery and rehabilitation at this moment.

I know that it is hard when you are wanting to get ready for the season. But you need to give your body time to heal. Then you can address the root causes of the limp and work towards improving your running technique.

Remember that the season is long, and even if you're unable to run for a few weeks, there are alternative ways to maintain fitness (cross training / strength training as mentioned before). Stay positive and committed, don't despair. Take a short break now and you'll increase your chances of achieving your goals in due course.

Best of luck on your running journey,

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