Common Running Injuries
Here is a list of the most common injuries to happen to runners in training. In most cases, you will still be able to achieve your goals if these injuries are detected early.
As you can tell, the preventive measures to take are all about the same. Make sure you stretch on regular basis and warm up/down after each run. In addition, have proper shoes for your foot type and run on soft and level terrain. Taking these simple preventive measures will not only prevent you from injuries, they will allow you to train at your best.
Knee - Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Symptoms: You will feel slight pain behind the knee cap and it becomes more painful running up hill or stairs
- Causes: Abnormal movement of the kneecap across the knee joint, mostly caused by your foot striking the ground and rolling hard onto the inside border of the foot.
- Treatment: Wear an elastic knee brace while doing strengthening exercises of the quadriceps muscle. This will allow the knee to move slightly but not excessively.
- Prevention: Wear good shoes with extra support on the inside borders this will prevent from further occurrences.
- Symptoms: Back of the lower leg, Either dull aching pain or sharp pain in severe cases
- Causes: Ineffective warm down/up routines & excessive hill work with a sudden large distance increase
- Treatment: Icing with complete rest for 3-4 days and gradual running distance increase. Deep calf massaging the can speed up recovery
- Prevention: Effective warm up/down with gradual increase in distance.
Knee - Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS):
- Symptoms: Common symptoms are pain and tenderness on the outside of the knee with tenderness usually above the joint line. Climbing hills or stairs aggravates the pain while walking will normally lessen it.
- Causes: The iliotibial band, a thick band of tissue connecting the hip joint down to the outer portion of the thigh until it joins the outside fibula, the non-weight bearing bone on the outside of the lower leg. This band lies across the femur at the point it forms the knee joint. Each time you flex and extend the iliotibial band rubs against portions of the knee joint causing pain.
- Treatment: Stretching of the iliotibial band will reduce the friction as it rubs across the outside of the knee.
- Prevention: This injury is most common in runners who run on concrete and unlevel terrain. Try to move farther out from the gutter or find a dirt or grassy route to run instead.
- Symptoms: Pain and tenderness along the inside border of the larger bone (tibia) in the lower leg. The pain is most prominent in the lower inside 2/3 of the leg. Pain is more noticeable in the beginning of the run, will disappear after a few minutes, and will reappear shortly after your run.
- Causes: The most common cause is continually running on the same side of the street where the same leg is always a little higher then the other. Over-pronation of the foot when striking the ground is another cause.
- Treatment: Simply stretching and flexing of the leg will loosen the muscle.
- Prevention: Again, move farther out from the gutter or run on softer surfaces.
Foot - Planter Fasciitis:
- Symptoms: Pain is generally located on the bottom of the foot from the heel to the middle of the foot and will go away after 5-10 minutes of running. As the injury progresses it will be evident throughout the run and while walking.
- Causes: Repetitive running leads to micro tears and inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick tissue connecting the knees to the toes.
- Treatment: Strengthening and stretching of the Achilles tendon will relive the pain and promote faster healing.
- Prevention: The best prevention is to run on softer surfaces and proper running shoes with adequate amount of cushioning and a shock-absorbent heel.
Heel - Achilles Tendinitis:
- Symptoms: Achilles tendon is the large cord like structure on the back of your heel you can pinch. The pain is usually just above the tendon where it connects to the back of the heel. The pain is more noticeable when your foot is partially flexed, and when lifting your heels as if you were to stand on your tippee toes.
- Causes: Common causes are running in overworn shoes, running to close to the gutters on the road, over pronation of the foot and running on hard surfaces.
- Treatment: Lots of rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and a heel lift are common treatments.
- Prevention: Again, the same preventive measures run on soft ground and wear proper shoes for your feet.
- Symptoms: Local tenderness or spot tenderness in the affected area is the most common symptom.
- Causes: Stress fractures are thin cracks or small breaks of a bone caused by to much stress on the bone. The only way a stress fracture can be diagnosed is by an x-ray or a bone scan. Early detection is important, if continued stress on the fractured bone were to accrue there is a possibility of permanent damage occurring.
- Treatment: Treatment is usually taking 4-8 weeks off from training until healed and some form of cross training would be affective.
- Prevention: Same preventive measures here also, run on soft ground and wear proper shoes.