Common Running Injuries

Running injuries are the bane of marathoners (and any runner!). It can be extremely frustrating to be forced to rest an injury when all you want to do is get off the couch and go for a run. What’s even more frustrating is to watch an agile healthy runner go bounding down your sidewalk while you are left to milk your hurting injury and wounded morale.

If you are unfortunate enough to become subject to an injury at some point in your life (which many runners will) you probably experienced/are experiencing it in one of the 3 main trouble spots: the foot, the knee, and the hip. 

Areas Associated with the Most Common Running Injuries

Foot:

  • Achilles Tendon This is the tendon that connects your heel to your calf muscles. It is the second site where runners are more prone to injury especially one called Achilles Tendinitis.
  • Plantar Fasciitis - This injury can be felt in the heel of your foot. The heel is highly susceptible to injury as so much force and impact is placed on it with each step that we run. 

Knee:

  • Knee Pain: The knee is the most vulnerable joint for a runner. Don’t push yourself when it comes to knee pain!

  • Shin Splints An injury in the shins can be extremely painful if you continue to run through it. Most however would choose to rest it rather than taking the pain that it brings during a run. Make sure you take proper care!

Hip:

  • Hip Bursitis: This is commonly thought to be a problem with the iliotibial band but really it is just the inflammation of the bursa sack in your hip. It is an overuse injury due to the repetitive nature of running.  
  • Pulled Hip Muscles/Tendonitis: These injuries are extremely common hip injuries and are often due to accelerating too fast, trying to slow down or stop yourself suddenly, running down a hill too fast, or changing direction suddenly. If you find yourself with a muscle strain remember the R.I.C.E. acronym - R: Relax, I: Ice, C: Compress, E: Elevate 
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome: This is typically not a serious condition and is caused by tight connective tissues that are out of place and trying to pass over the hip bones in the wrong way. 

Check out the links for running injuries associated with each trouble area, tips on how to stay strong, avoid the injuries, preventive measures, and how to treat each area if you have become injured.

Obviously not just the legs and feet are in jeopardy when it comes to running. Some runners experience pain in their lower back, neck, and arms (especially during a marathon when you whole body must be strong in order to make it to the finish line). If you are experiencing pain or injuries in these areas it is most probably due to poor running form. (Here is info on correct, efficient running form.)

Keep in mind that for most of these injuries rest is the best healer!



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Resources: 

Paluska SA. An overview of hip injuries in running. Sports Med. 2005;35(11):991-1014. Review. PubMed PMID: 16271011.