6 Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Running is a popular form of exercise and a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. However, it can be strenuous on your knees and cause many different types of injuries. Whether you are a professional runner or are beginning your running journey, you must be aware of the common running injury types and how to prevent them so that you can keep running safely. 

If you face persistent problems, such as pain, from running, you should connect with a reliable spine and sports physical therapy specialist who has expert knowledge to treat your condition. 

6 Common Running Injuries

Running injuries are common, and there are specific injuries that are more commonly related to running than others. If you face any of the injuries mentioned below, you can connect with a specialized physical therapy provider for runners who can treat your condition better. 

Shin Splints

Pain experienced along the tibia (shin bone) or on the inner side of the shin characterizes shin splints. Runners may commonly encounter this discomfort when altering their workout routines. Adequate rest and off days play crucial roles in the healing process.

Runner’s Knee

This condition manifests as pain around the kneecap, especially during activities such as climbing stairs, squatting, and prolonged sitting followed by standing up. A runner’s knee is an overuse injury impacting the cartilage beneath the kneecap.

Stress Fracture

Stress fractures frequently occur in the shin bones, feet, and pelvis among runners. Pain intensifies during activity and subsides with rest. These fractures develop when there’s a rapid increase in activity, such as longer distances, faster paces, or more frequent running.

Achilles Tendinopathy

Also referred to as inflammation of the Achilles tendon, this condition occurs when the calf muscle attaches to the heel. It is common in runners with tight calf muscles and ankle stiffness.

Plantar Fasciitis

Tight calf muscles are associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful condition in the arch of the foot characterized by tightness in the connective tissue between the heel and toes. Individuals with high arches are more prone to this, and appropriate footwear can help alleviate the pain.

IT Band Syndrome

The IT band, stretching from the hip to the outer knee, can cause friction and pain when tight. Inefficient running mechanics and weak hips often contribute to IT band syndrome.

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Running injuries, while common, are not inevitable. Fortunately, the strategies to prevent one type of running injury are applicable to various others. Here are eight habits recommended for keeping runners injury-free. If you are seriously injured, you should consult a spine and sports physical therapy specialist at your earliest convenience. 

1. Plan and Progress Slowly

When pursuing running goals, such as a marathon or increased mileage, a well-thought-out plan with gradual progression is crucial. Experts advise not exceeding a 10% increase in run mileage per week to avoid overtaxing muscles and joints.

2. Separate Speed and Distance Increases

Avoid simultaneously increasing speed and distance in your runs. Experts recommend focusing on either adding distance or quickening your pace to reduce the risk of progressing too rapidly and inviting injury.

3. Prioritize Muscle Recovery

Post-run recovery is as vital as the exercise itself. Adequate rest, along with healthy eating, hydration, and ample sleep, aids in preventing overuse injuries. Employing at-home remedies like ice, heat, pain relievers, topicals, and massage can also contribute to recovery.

4. Distinguish Between Soreness and Injury

Expect muscle soreness when challenging your body through running, but never ignore sharp or persistent pain. Experts emphasize the importance of seeking evaluation if pain persists after a week or two to avoid prolonged injuries.

5. Incorporate Cross-Training

While running may be a priority, diversifying your exercise routine with activities like weight training and core exercises is essential. Cross-training strengthens supportive muscles, enhancing overall running performance and reducing the risk of injury.

6. Choose Quality Running Shoes

Wearing proper running shoes is crucial to support natural foot movement and biomechanics, minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. Invest in well-fitting running shoes and replace them when worn out to maintain optimal foot health.

7. Prioritize Stretching

Stretching aids in maintaining muscle flexibility, reducing direct force during a run, and preventing poor running form. Experts recommend a brief warm-up before stretching and advise against cold stretching. Bouncing stretches are also discouraged.

I.A.N. – For All Your Personal Injury Needs

Choose the Injury Assistance Network for all your personal injury-related needs. If you get hurt running, we have the best spine and sports physical therapy specialists in our network who can do the right treatment using a wide range of therapies and treatments. Be it a simple sore or a more complex scenario, the therapists in our network can do the best treatment for any and every personal injury that you might face.

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    6 Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them