Common Running Injuries And How You Should Address Them

Common Running Injuries and How You Should Address Them!

Running is a popular form of exercise, and for good reason. It’s a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, manage weight, and reduce stress. However, as with any physical activity, running comes with the risk of injury. As a physical therapist with eight years of experience treating runners, I have seen a wide variety of injuries. Some of these injuries are more common among runners than others, but they can all be prevented or treated with proper care. 
In this blog post, I’ll be discussing five of the most common running injuries, including runner’s knee, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, and Achilles tendinopathy. For each injury, I’ll explain what it is, what causes it, and how to prevent or address it. By understanding these injuries and taking steps to avoid them, you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of running while minimizing your risk of injury.

As a treating physical therapist for the last 8 years, I’ve seen my fair share of runners with injuries over the years. While running is a healthy passion, it’s not without its risks. In fact, certain injuries are more common among runners than others. Next, I’ll be discussing common injuries sustained by runners and what you should and shouldn’t do to prevent them. That’s the good news! These injuries can be prevented and certainly resolved if addressed properly when they do occur.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a common injury among runners. It’s characterized by pain around the kneecap and can be caused by a variety of factors. You should– Maintain a healthy and strong Quadricep muscle that can tolerate the forces of running.  You should not – focus on stretching your Quad. 

Shin Splints

Shin splints are another common injury among runners. They’re characterized by pain in the front of the lower leg and are often caused by overuse or technique errors. You should– Consider addressing an over-stride during running gait that may lead to shin stress. You should not- buy heavy “supportive” shoes to “fix the problem.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common injury among runners that involves pain in the heel or arch of the foot. It’s caused by inflammation or weakness of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.You should- strengthen the foot, ankle, and fascia itself to limit weakness in the region. You should not- focus on passive frozen water bottle massage, ultrasound, etc.

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IT Band Syndrome

IT band syndrome is a common injury among runners that involves pain on the outside of the knee. It’s caused by irritation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh. You should- consider your running technique, terrain, and hip strength as variables to address. You should not- foam roll ITB!

Achilles Tendinopathy 

Achilles tendonitis is a common injury among runners that involves pain in the back of the calf and/or heel. It’s caused by excessive loading of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. You should– temporarily remove hills, and speed work to alleviate symptoms. You should not- focus solely on calf stretching.

In conclusion, while running is a great form of exercise, it’s important to take steps to prevent common injuries. By gradually increasing your mileage, running with optimal technique, and incorporating strengthening exercises into your routine, you can help prevent these injuries and stay on the road to a healthy, active lifestyle!

Written by Joey Przybyla, PT, DPT

Up and Running Physical Therapy 

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Dr. AJ Cohen

Up And Running Physical Therapy

"We Help Runners And Active Adults In The Fort Collins Area Overcome Injury And Be Stronger Than Ever, Avoid Unnecessary Time Off, All Without Medications, Injections, Or Surgery."