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Healthy Runner's Handbook

Casa, Douglas J.

Section Editor(s): Berry, Michael J. Book Review Editor

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 12 - p 1531,1532
Book Reviews
Free

$16.95, ISBN 0-88011-5246, 255 pages

Published by: Human Kinetics, P.O. Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61825-5076, 1996.

Department of Sport, Leisure, and Exercise Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Healthy Runner's Handbook

Lyle J. Micheli and Mark Jenkins

When reading the book Healthy Runner's Handbook, I was impressed with its thorough coverage of many medical issues that may confront runners. Many sports medicine books for the lay public are adequate in scope and style, but what separates this book from others is its focus on runners.

Healthy Runner's Handbook is written from a perspective that runners can easily relate to and embrace. This book is one of the most useful on this topic for several reasons. Most noticeable is the excellent format that allows the runner to systematically investigate each injury. It includes a definition, extrinsic and intrinsic factors leading to the problem, symptoms, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery time for each of 37 injuries. The authors also convey the crucial message that overuse injuries occur for a reason and that to prevent their lingering indefinitely, appropriate strength, flexibility, and training variables must be addressed.

In addition, I feel the book succeeds because of its emphasis on the importance of overcoming an injury rather than just treating the problem. The book takes a pro-active role on prevention, early intervention, and treatment, and devotes the first 87 pages to these issues. As stated in the preface, the book “describes the most modern techniques for diagnosing, caring for, and rehabilitating injuries most common to runners. But more important, this book reveals the underlying factors that cause overuse running injuries, and provides easy to follow prescriptions.”

Another feature that separates this book from similar manuals is the emphasis on the issues specific to female athletes. Exploring the roles of the menstrual cycle and eating habits on the etiology of injury is part of a long overdue and recent emphasis on understanding issues specific to the female athlete. Finally, the book can be easily understood by the lay public, making it a handy reference for millions of runners and not just the medical professionals who treat them.

The first three chapters are exceptional and lay the foundation for the success of this book. Chapter 1 covers issues relevant to the risks of running and the extrinsic and intrinsic variables that contribute to injuries. Chapter 2 thoroughly covers the role of prevention of running injuries. Chapter 3 is an overview of the basics of the diagnosis and management of running ailments.

Chapters 4 through 9 are organized by anatomical region so that each chapter covers injuries of one of the following areas in depth: the foot; the ankle; lower leg; knee; hip, pelvis, and groin; and back. These chapters are well organized and show the interrelatedness of many of the conditions.

Chapter 10 covers issues pertinent to female runners, including dysfunctional eating behaviors, menstrual irregularities, osteoporosis, supplemental estrogen, and other topics that impact the etiology of a running injury. Chapter 11 focuses on the importance of proper nutritional habits and the impact of deficiencies on the etiology of injuries.

Healthy Runner's Handbook is a refreshing change from other books of its type. I was impressed by its contents, readability, and usefulness. I would recommend this book to athletes as a guide to help them confront the various ailments they may encounter. The book is a grand success. Happy healthy running to all of you.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine