Running Injuries – When is it okay to run with pain?

May 1, 2022

Running injuries can be difficult to spot, especially if you’re undergoing intense training. However, it’s important to recognize the difference between regular post-workout soreness and concerning pain. Regardless of your experience or training intensity, proper treatment of running-related injuries is important to reduce the risk of further damage to your body. If you’re experiencing any of the following signs of injury, please contact South Jersey PT or your local physician for an assessment. 

Running Injury vs. Regular Soreness

Pain is often associated with running. Knowing the difference between normal, manageable pain and unusual, concerning pain is the first step. So, when is it okay to run with pain? As a runner, some common discomfort you may experience includes:

  • Tightness or soreness at the start of a run
  • A feeling of “burning” while running, which becomes dull once at rest
  • Soreness that subsides after a couple days
  • Some dull pain in the muscles
  • “Side stitches” in your diaphragm while running 
  • Aches throughout your legs (not isolated in one area) 

This type of discomfort can usually be treated easily. In some cases, like side stitches, adequate stretching and breathing exercises can help manage this discomfort. In terms of pain or discomfort after a run, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are key to treating any usual pain you might feel after a run. If this pain doesn’t subside within a few days or worsens, it’s time to evaluate your symptoms for a possible injury. Some possible signs of a running-related injury include: 

  • Pain that’s present be before, during, and after a run
  • Pain that is sharp and intense both while running and at rest 
  • Difficulty walking or resuming your day after a run
  • Pain in both your muscles and joints
  • Pain that does not subside within a few days
  • Sharp or radiating pain in your joints or isolated in one area 
  • Pain that causes you to change your gait 
  • Pain that affects your running performance

How to deal with running pain

Each athlete has different levels of pain tolerances, so it’s important to evaluate your symptoms and listen to your body. If your pain is low to moderate, examine whether it’s worth it to continue your training, and consider if it’s time to stop and rest. If your pain is severe, to the point where your gait and running performance are affected, it’s time to stop and see a physical therapist to assess the issue. 

Whether you’re experiencing mild soreness or concerning pain, a running assessment can help make the difference in your performance. South Jersey Physical Therapy evaluates the whole body, examining your gait, strength, mobility, running volume, and more to pinpoint areas of weakness and maximize your training. Pain shouldn’t slow you down. Learn more about our running assessments and start performing your best! 

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