Common running injuries and how to treat them

May 9, 2022

Pain while running is pretty common. How do you know when it’s okay to run while running, and when to stop? Due to the impact and stress of the sport, running injuries can happen pretty easily, whether you’re new to running or an experienced athlete. It’s important to treat these injuries when they occur so you don’t risk further harm to your body. So, here are some common running injuries, how to recognize them, and their treatment needs.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are a small crack in your bone appearing after repetitive stress without time to heal. For runners, this injury often occurs in the feet or legs. Overexerting yourself or changes to your training intensity, mileage, or terrain increases your risk of stress fractures. Adequate nutrition and rest after a run can help prevent stress fractures. Don’t try pushing through the pain – continued activity will only make the stress fracture worse. See a doctor or physical therapist to assess the severity. You’ll likely have to take a break from running, and gradually return to running once you get the all-clear.

Runner’s knee

This injury is often caused by overtraining, poor running shoes, improper running form, or weak hips, thighs, quads, or hamstrings. Runner’s knee, as the name suggests, presents itself as a pain around or beneath the kneecap. Manage the pain with adequate rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Once the pain subsides, exercises focusing on improving hip and core strength can help prevent runner’s knee from reoccurring. Additionally, make sure to replace your running shoes when needed and ensure they have accurate support.

Shin splints

This injury can be recognized with pain along the front or inside of the shin bone. This injury can be caused by overexertion, worsened by weak hip muscles, poor running form, improper shoes, or tightened calf muscles. As an injury caused by overuse, the most important component to treating this injury is rest. Good running shoes as well as heel and calf exercises can help further occurrences of this injury.

Achilles tendinopathy

AKA tendonitis, Achilles tendinopathy is caused by inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Like many running injuries, stress, overtraining, and poor running form are often culprits. Symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy include pain and stiffness in the tendon area, as well as pain when impacting the ground or quickly changing direction. Calf stretches, proper rest, icing, and physical therapy can help manage this injury, as well as making any changes to your routine as necessary to not overexert the tendon. Proper stretching and shoe maintenance can help prevent Achilles tendinopathy.

Plantar fasciitis

This injury is caused by irritation and inflammation of the connective tissue on the sole of your foot. Symptoms include stabbing pains on the bottom of the foot, especially near the heel. The pain can come and go, usually at its worst at the beginning and end of a run, and when you first get up in the morning. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of factors, including weakness of the hips and core, poor running form, flat feet, nerve irritation, and more. Better arch support, as well as stretching, stride adjustments, heel raises, and any strengthening exercises recommended by your physical therapist can help treat and prevent this injury.

Conclusion

Experiencing pain while running? Whether you’re struggling with one of these common running injuries, or are just looking to improve your performance, South Jersey Physical Therapy can help. We offer comprehensive running assessments, evaluating your gait, strength, running volume and habits to pinpoint your areas of weakness and determine the next course of action for your training. We believe in treating the whole body to help our patients get their physical and mental state ready to perform their best. Pain shouldn’t slow your running down. Learn more about our running assessments now and get back on track!

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