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4 Effective Tips for Running with MS

Posted by:

Johannes Sauer

Published at: May 31, 2024

Table of Contents
  1. 4 Effective Tips for Running with MS

  2. MS and the Feet: Brief Overview

  3. How is Foot Drop Connected with Multiple Sclerosis?

  4. Running with MS: Tips for Success

    1. Start Slow and Gradually Increase

    2. Stay Hydrated

    3. Watch for Signals of Fatigue

    4. Choose Better Running Gear

4 Effective Tips for Running with MS

Multiple sclerosis can make it challenging to walk, jog or run, due to symptoms such as numbness, pain and fatigue.

If you want to run for your health or simply for the sheer joy of it, however, you still can find ways to make it work.

Let’s learn more about how MS affects runners, after which we will share a few powerful tips for running with MS so you can get back to doing what you love.

MS and the Feet: Brief Overview

Over 50% of patients with multiple sclerosis experience symptoms of numbness, pain and tingling. For around 65% of patients, these symptoms occur in the back, head, and/or extremities, including the feet.

Given how widespread these symptoms are, it should come as no surprise that around 41% of patients with MS report difficulties walking. About 70% consider it the “most challenging aspect” of the disease. 

In addition, many patients with MS suffer from debilitating fatigue. It can be difficult to exercise when you feel so tired.

How is Foot Drop Connected with Multiple Sclerosis?

When you experience numbness in your feet, you may not be able to lift and drop your feet in a natural way. This can produce foot drop

If you experience foot drop, your feet may drag along the ground as you walk. This increases the chances of stumbling and falling, especially when you need to cross an uneven surface or clear an obstacle.

It can be difficult even to walk safely and comfortably with foot drop. Running can pose an even greater challenge, since you need to lift your feet more fully, and you are moving more quickly.

Running with MS: Tips for Success

Now that you understand why MS can make running difficult, let’s go over some suggestions that can make running with MS easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

Cadense Ambassador Beth running in Australia

May 31, 2024

Running definitely isn’t easy. You could be fooled into thinking it is because literally everyone in the world seems to be running at the moment, but it’s hard. Especially if you didn’t do sport in your younger years, you’re essentially teaching your old body new tricks and it will take time! And if you have MS…? Well that’s going to take a little longer too.
But I’ve got news for you. YOU CAN DO IT.

- Beth C. / Cadense Ambassador - MS Community

Start Slow and Gradually Increase

MS Society UK says that you should start your exercise sessions with MS with a gradual warm-up. That is great advice for the general population as well. Warming up with a lower intensity exercise (i.e. walking before running) can help to prevent injuries.

Stay Hydrated

Patients with MS sometimes reduce how much water they are drinking because they are tired of their bladder issues. Nevertheless, this can increase fatigue and produce dehydration symptoms. That is particularly dangerous while exercising, since you will be sweating to maintain your body temperature. So, make sure you are drinking plenty of water when you run with MS.

Cadense Ambassador Beth running a half marathon in Australia

May 31, 2024

You may have to plan a route that keeps you close to restrooms you can use if you have a frequent need to urinate.

Watch for Signals of Fatigue

MS fatigue can easily catch you off guard if you are not alert for it. Try and proactively monitor yourself for fatigue signals as you run. That way, you can end your workouts in time to rest, rather than pushing yourself too far.

Choose Better Running Gear

One more step you can take to give yourself the best experiences running with MS is to choose footwear that helps mitigate your symptoms.

The Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women with patented variable friction technology are excellent for runners who experience pain, numbness, or foot drop. These shoes “glide” over uneven surfaces effectively, helping you avoid stumbles and falls.

I think these are an absolute game changer. Having that ability to slide the foot is just something I haven’t seen or experienced before and I think it will be invaluable.

- Beth / Cadense Ambassador – MS Community

These shoes are also easy to put on and take off, have a wide, stable base, and offer snug, comfortable support to keep your feet and ankles aligned as you run. Their lightweight materials minimize fatigue, letting you get the most out of your runs. In addition, they are stylish enough for everyday wear. 

To find your next pair of running shoes, shop our full collection of shoes for MS.

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Does running improve symptoms of MS?

Yes, running can lead to a quality of life improvement if you have MS. According to MS Society UK, MS patients who run may experience improvements with balance, walking, and cognitive functioning. 

Plus, running is good for your overall wellness, exerting a positive effect on your cardiovascular health and mood.

What should I do if I experience pain while running with MS?

If you experience sudden, unusual pain, severe pain, or pain that gets worse while running with MS, you should stop what you are doing.

These types of pain might indicate that you have injured yourself somehow. Perhaps, for example, your foot landed wrong due to numbness, and you hurt your ankle.

Examine your feet and see if you are injured or not. If you feel safe to start moving again, you could try walking the rest of the way home.

It is wise to bring a mobile device with you on your runs in case you do need to call someone to pick you up.

Is it safe for MS sufferers to run frequently?

Possibly. Mayo Clinic says that extremely vigorous exercise does not offer significant benefits over more moderate exercise, and that aerobic workouts can “backfire” if you try to overdo it with MS.

Posted by: Johannes Sauer

CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense As the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense Inc., Johannes is proud to drive forward their mission of enhancing mobility and improving lives through innovative adaptive footwear.

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