Common Injuries from Running: Causes and Prevention

Whether you are an elite runner or a new runner, getting sidelined makes you physically and mentally down. As per recent research, more than 50% of runners will get injured each year. We will list the common injuries from running and some causes and prevention ideas.

An athlete is susceptible to minor aches and pains frequently. So, it’s good to understand some of the significant running injuries and ways you can prevent them.

Related: Best Ankle Brace for Running 

Common injuries from running – knee pain

Runner’s Knee

This is one of the most common injuries caused by overrunning. It is a case when a kneecap goes out of alignment. With time your kneecap cartilage wears down. You will feel pain in the area surrounding your kneecap while 

  • Climbing stairs.
  • Squatting
  • Keeping your knee bent for a long time.

IT band syndrome

This syndrome causes pain in the outside of your knee. IT band is a ligament that runs outside your thigh, starting from your hip to the knee outside. IT band syndrome occurs because of the thickening of your ligament, which rubs your knee bone, thereby leading to inflammation.

Patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is a common disorder in which the tendon of the kneecap becomes inflamed and swollen. Usually an inflammation, it can come with symptoms such as pain at the front of the knee or lower kneecaps. It might feel fine for a while but when you exercise, it may become very painful.

Common running injuries – foot pain

Plantar fasciitis

This is the inflammation of your plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue in the bottom of your foot extending from the heel to the toes. It causes severe pain in your heel, mainly while taking the first few steps in the morning.

Runners with tight calf muscles and high arch will suffer from it more. Although it is linked to increased activity, plantar fasciitis can also happen without apparent reasons.

Blisters

It occurs on the skin’s surface and is mainly a fluid-filled sac. It is caused by friction between your shoes/socks and your skin. You can prevent it by choosing blister prevention socks with a double layer, applying petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters, and regularly buying new socks. Best Running Socks to Prevent Blisters 

Fracture 

When a tiny crack occurs in your bone, causing high discomfort and pain, it’s called a fracture. It mainly affects the runner in the feet and the shin. It happens because of overworking, or when you land on an uneven surface, or because of an accident.

Common running injuries lower leg and calf

Shin splint

This is one of the common injuries from running that cause pain either in the front or inside the lower leg. 

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Shin splint mainly occurs when you change your workout, like running long distances or enhancing the total number of days of running. It also happens if suddenly you start running too fast.

It is hard to differentiate a shin splint from a stress fracture. People having flat feet are more likely to suffer from this problem.

Achilles tendinopathy

Also called tendonitis, this is a kind of inflammation. It leads to severe pain and stiffness in your tendon area, especially in the morning and during an activity. For example, when you add a long distance to your running routine, you get Achilles tendinopathy. Sometimes tight calf muscles also contribute to this painful problem.

Common running injuries hip

Trochanteric hip bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis is a common cause of hip pain. Characterized by inflammation of the bursa around the greater trochanter, it can be identified by radiating joint pain, pain with movement, and difficulty sleeping.

Other common running injuries

Muscle strain

This is one of the minor running injuries where a small tear occurs in your muscles. It is also known as muscle strain. It is caused when you overstretch your muscle. 

Ankle sprain

This is an accidental stretching or tearing of your ligaments surrounding the ankle. It mainly occurs when your foot twists or starts rolling inward. 

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Temperature-based running injuries

It mainly includes sunburn, frostbite, exhaustion, and hypothermia. Dress appropriately and use sunscreen to avoid these injuries.

Essential tips to prevent running injuries

If you want to prevent injuries from sidelining you, then here are few precautions you can take:

  • Listen to your body: Never ignore pain. If you have minor soreness, it’s ok, but if you feel constant pain in any area or joint, it’s better to rest and consult a health care provider.
  • Make a running strategy: Before starting your running routine, always talk to your trainer. They will assist you in making a running plan in alignment with your existing fitness capabilities.
  • Do warm-up and stretching exercises: Most of the injuries occur because of insufficient stretching. Therefore, before and after running, do adequate stretching.
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  • Strength training: Do not forget to add some weight training and ab-exercises to your daily routine. This assists in strengthening your muscles and developing some core strength
  • Avoid Poor posture while running – While you are running, check your overall posture to avoid a sudden fall. Staying upright and keeping your shoulders relaxed will help you breathe properly. Use suitable shoes and practice with knee bands and ankle braces to keep your posture balanced and dynamic for running.
  • Don’t run on hard surfaces without appropriate gear – Make it a habit to use proper running shoes and ankle supports while running on a hard surface. You can choose a brace with padded gel to provide the ankle with an extra cushion while they are struggling on a hard or uneven surface. Make sure to use an ankle sleeve to absorb shock to prevent passing to your legs.
  • Mix up training: Try to mix your fitness routine with other exercises other than only running. For example, you can try biking, tennis, or swimming along with your daily running.
  • Wear apparel appropriately: Always wear lightweight and breathable clothing that wicks your moisture away from your skin. In addition to the dress, it’s also essential to wear shoes and a shock that fits appropriately. Include a good ankle brace to give you extra support while running
  • Keep a watch on muscular imbalances – Foot injuries sometimes happen when we pay more attention to running muscles and sideline our supporting running muscles. Support your muscles and ankle joints with a proper ankle brace with a good compression quality. A small investment will undoubtedly make a huge difference in foot and ankle injury prevention.

Common Running Injuries Conclusion

Running injuries are frustrating and time taking to cure. As prevention is always better than cure, it is good to take any of your exercise routines seriously to avoid foot and ankle damage. Identify the pattern of the previous injury and figure out what care you must take in the future to prevent such injury from happening again. 

I’m a runner, a dad, a writer, just trying to help runners make better decisions. My running career started back in 2013 getting into olympic triathlons, increasing to full distance Ironmans in 2017. Through the process of run training as a hobby and trying to train the least possible to avoid injury and still compete at the Ironman distance, I’ve put years of research and testing into simple running routines and techniques. As a writer, working with coaches and experts we take their experience and provide articles to help runners at every level.

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