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July 2012

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Tough Mudder, Sore Muscles

Tough Mudder

A 10 – 12 mile obstacle course billed as "possibly the toughest event on the planet" forces runners to crawl, climb, jump and swim in terrain that is rugged, muddy and more than a little dangerous. And it's fast becoming a popular way to prove how fit you are.

It's called the "Tough Mudder" and it's one of the most difficult fitness challenges out there today, according to the tens of thousands of people who have completed the race. While runners use the event to build their strength and endurance, people are also getting hurt. Participants have been taken out on stretchers, some with serious injuries.

"We commonly see broken bones – legs, arms, collarbones – or dislocated joints after Tough Mudder events," says Michael Ross, MD, a sports medicine physician at the Rothman Institute.

"While most participants suffer little more than sore muscles and some bumps and bruises, everyone should be aware of the potential risks involved – the injuries can be more traumatic than the usual running overuse injuries."

Dr. Ross recommends that participants train for events like Tough Mudder to reduce their risk of injury.

"Building endurance and getting used to running on uneven surfaces, twisting and jumping will help competitors," he says. "And they need to build upper body strength for pulling themselves up over obstacles."

Runners point to weight loss, increased endurance and better body strength as the rewards for the training and competition.

"But it is important to know what you are getting yourself into before you sign up so you can prepare yourself," says Dr. Ross. "Despite the injuries that we see, the majority of participants have fun and love the camaraderie of these events."



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