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. Like any form of exercise, there is risk for injury. Many injuries can be related to running form and training methods. If you have any questions about your running form or experience any of these symptoms, contact a physical therapist. Here are 6 common running injuries and ways to prevent them.
1. Shin Splints Described as pain along the tibia (shin bone) or on the inside of the shin. This can be common for runners when changing up your work out routine. Proper rest time and off days are important factors for healing.
2. Runner's Knee Pain in or around the kneecap particularly with stairs, squatting, or sitting for a long time and then standing up. Runner's knee is an overuse injury that affects the cartilage under the kneecap.
3. Stress Fracture The most common sites for stress fractures in runners are the shin bones, feet, and pelvis. The pain is worse with activity and better with rest. Stress fractures develop with increasing activity too fast (longer distances, faster paces, running more frequently).
4. Achilles Tendinopathy Also known as inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is where your calf muscle attaches to the heel. This commonly occurs in runners who have tight calf muscles and ankle stiffness.
5. Plantar Fasciitis This condition is also associated with tight calf muscles. However, this is a pain in the arch of your foot characterized by tight banding of the connective tissue between your heel and toes. More common in people with high arches. Proper footwear can help alleviate this pain.
6. IT Band Syndrome Your IT band runs from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. When this band gets tight, it can cause friction around the outer portion of your knee and lead to pain. Often related to inefficient running mechanics and weak hips.
How to Prevent Injury
1. Rest as needed. Listen to your body and use pain as a guide for activity prescription. If something hurts, stop doing it!
2. Cross train with strength training and stretching after you exercise/run. A program for core and lower extremity strengthening should be performed 2-3 times a week.
3. Stay hydrated and eat well. Exercise increases your daily caloric need. Make sure you are getting enough calories to support your level of activity.
4. If you have any questions about your pain, running form, or training schedule, contact a physical therapist.
Lauren Kremer PT, DPT
Performance Therapy Center