by Sharecare, Inc.

What's the biggest danger lurking for runners? The answer is injury.

The most common running injuries are inflammation over your hipbone, knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis, which causes sharp heel pain. How can you avoid these? Start with your big toe. It's true, something simple like having a stiff big toe that won't flex when you roll through a stride can change your balance which changes the forces across your knee. That can lead to much pressure on the kneecap cartilage, and cause it to become irritated.

So, what can you do to stay injury free?

  1. Flex your big toe up and down, and move it all around in a circle.
  2. Make sure your calves, hamstrings, and quads are well stretched.

Your muscles are most efficient and most supple at their optimum length. So make sure you are good and stretched from toe to core before heading out for a run.