Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Running Injuries

Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Sixty percent of runners experience an injury severe enough to sideline them from activity. Because the best way to avoid injury is to prevent it, and running shoes are the only protective equipment runners have to safeguard themselves from injury, choosing the correct running shoe is important.

However, choosing the correct shoe is only one variable to consider when trying to prevent running injuries. Several other variables, including flexibility, strengthening, and training schedules, also need to be considered. Running injuries may be acute or chronic, and they all must be managed within an appropriate time frame to assure optimal healing.


Acute injuries are sudden, sometimes violent injuries. These include broken bones, sprains, and lacerations.

Proper first aid for acute injuries include:

  • Stopping the bleeding
  • Applying ice to the injured area
  • Immobilizing the injured extremity

Seek assistance if:

  • There is immediate swelling
  • There is persistent, severe pain
  • You are unable to use the injured part
  • You hear or feel a tear, crack, or pop

Overuse (or chronic)

Overuse injuries are due to a low-grade, abnormal force being applied repeatedly over a prolonged period of time. These are the most common injuries in runners. The following variables contribute to overuse injuries:

  • Terrain
  • The condition of running shoes
  • Individual foot anatomy (such as flat feet)
  • Decreased strength
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Training that lasts too long or is too intense —overtraining is a leading cause of overuse injuries
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Increasing weekly mileage too quickly
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoor

Symptoms of overtraining include:

  • Weight loss
  • Persistent feeling of fatigue/soreness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Morning pulse increased by 10 beats per minute
  • Recurrent sore throat or cold symptoms
  • Persistent aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Increased incidence of injury
  • Aversion to exercise

Proper first aid for overuse (chronic) injuries include:

  • Reduce training, using pain as a guide
  • Apply ice to injured area 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times per day
  • Use compression to decrease swelling
  • Elevate injured area if possible
  • Take aspirin or ibuprofen as directed on package instructions
  • Determine cause of injury (e.g., tight muscle or weak hip muscles) and fix it

Seek assistance if:

  • Pain continues despite decreased training
  • Pain persists beyond 10-14 days
  • Pain medications are needed in order to train
  • Pain resolves with rest, but recurs once you resume training

What are a few specific types of running injuries and their treatments?

Plantar fasciitis

The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the bottom of the foot, from the heel into the arch. It is especially painful when you get up in the morning and after you have been sitting a long time. The discomfort may be present at the start of a run, subside during the run, and then recur later. Causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Feet with a high arch (supinator, or a person who rolls his or her feet too far outward while running)
  • Flat feet (overpronator, or a person who rolls his or her feet too far inward while running)
  • Shoes (excessive wear)
  • Incorrect shoe type (cushion versus motion control)
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly)
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoors

Treatments for this condition may include:

  • Decrease running (cross train with biking and/or swimming)
  • Apply ice for 20 minutes two to three times per day
  • Stretch calf muscles
  • Massage arch of foot
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications
  • Replace running shoes every 400 to 600 miles
  • Get fit for shoes at specialty store to find the correct type of running shoe for your foot mechanics, looking at cushioning, stability, and motion control
  • Use appropriate devices, such as arch supports, heel cups, or customized orthotics (devices to correct biomechanical problems)

The best method for preventing plantar fasciitis is stretching. The plantar fascia can be stretched by grabbing the toes, pulling the foot upward and holding for 15 seconds.

To stretch the calf muscles, place hands on a wall and drop affected leg back into a lunge step while keeping the heel of the back leg down.

Keep the back knee straight for one stretch and then bend the knee slightly to stretch a deeper muscle in the calf. Hold stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times.

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is characterized by pain with heel strike, pain when the foot lands on a curb, when running up the stairs, or with a sudden change of direction. Pain may be more prominent in the morning with the first few steps bed. This is because the calf muscle in shortened in sleeping positions. Causes may include:

  • Excessive hill running or stair climbing
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Flat feet (overpronator)
  • Incorrect shoe type
  • Overused running shoes
  • Change in shoes or running surface
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly)
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Increasing weekly mileage too quickly
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoors

Treatments for this condition may include:

  • Modification of training schedule
  • Stretching calf muscles
  • Treatment with physical therapy
  • Ice
  • Using appropriate devices, such as heel lifts, insoles, or arch supports
  • Massage
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Avoiding hills

To help prevent Achilles tendonitis from occurring, proper stretching—such as leaning into a wall with your back leg straight or knee slightly bent—as well as proper shoe maintenance should be used.

Runners’ knee

When a person has runners' knee, the pain builds up gradually and is usually located beneath or around the kneecap. The pain is aggravated by squatting and going up and down stairs. Stiffness in the knee after prolonged sitting is also a symptom of this injury. Causes may include:

  • Weak thigh and hip muscles
  • Flat feet (overpronator)
  • Tight hamstrings and quadriceps muscles
  • Change in shoes or running surface
  • Overused running shoes
  • Incorrect shoe type
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Increasing weekly mileage too quickly
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoors

Treatments for this condition may include:

  • Avoiding painful activities
  • Applying ice
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching calf, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors
  • Strengthening quadriceps, hip abductors, and hip extensor muscles
  • Treatment with physical therapy
  • Correcting foot and/or shoe issues
  • Replacing running shoes every 400 to 600 miles

Efforts to prevent runners' knee from happening begin with strengthening. Hip strengthening is very important for runners in avoiding injury.

To strengthen the hip abductors, lie on your side, keep your hip and knee in a straight line and kick leg up towards the ceiling keeping leg in line with the body. To strengthen the hip extensors, lie on your stomach, squeeze your buttock muscles, and lift your leg off the ground.

A runner should perform strengthening slowly and with good control. Repeat 15 to 20 repetitions and do three sets.

Iliotibial band (ITB)syndrome

This type of injury is characterized by pain on the outside of the knee while running. A runner may also experience pain on the outside of the hip. With this injury, a runner may notice the pain more on slower runs than fast runs, running hills, or going up or down stairs. Causes of this condition include:

  • Running on a banked surface or changes in running surface
  • Flat feet (overpronator)
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly)
  • Overused running shoes
  • Weak hip abductor and hip extensor muscles
  • Tight hip muscles (especially iliotibial or IT band muscle)
  • Incorrect shoe type
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoors

Treatment of this condition may include:

  • Modifying training schedule
  • Strengthening hip abductors and hip extensor muscles
  • Applying ice
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • Massaging lateral (outside) knee
  • Stretching hip muscles (IT band)
  • Replacing running shoes every 400 to 600 miles
  • Getting fit for shoes at specialty store for correct shoe type

Stretching of the IT band can help prevent this injury. To stretch this muscle, stand with the affected leg towards a wall, cross the unaffected leg in front of the affected leg, place arm on wall and drop hips towards the wall. You should feel the stretch on the side of the hips or side of the knee. Hold stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times.

Shin splints

As the name suggests, a shin splint injury is pain in the shin while running. The pain first starts after running, but then progresses to a persistent pain. If you continue to have pain, you should visit your doctor. Causes of this condition include:

  • Insufficient control of foot mechanics (incorrect shoe type)
  • Change in running surface or banked surfaces
  • Overused running shoes
  • Flat feet (overpronator)
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Training errors (increasing mileage or intensity too quickly)
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Poor running form/biomechanics
  • Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to outdoors

Treatments for this condition may include:

  • Get rest
  • Decrease mileage and cross train with biking or swimming
  • Apply ice
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications
  • Get fit for shoes at a specialty store for correct running shoe type for your foot mechanics (cushion/stability/motion control shoes)
  • Replace running shoes every 400 to 600 miles
  • Stretch calf muscles
  • Strengthen hip abductors and hip extensors
  • Modify training schedule – avoid hills

The best way to help prevent shin splints is to practice good shoe maintenance. Most importantly, a runner should wear shoes that are appropriate for his or her foot type and training intensity. You may need prescription orthotics if the foot mechanics cannot be controlled with a shoe alone (e.g., to correct for overpronation).

A running shoe needs to have good shock absorption in order to decrease the stress on the shins. Running shoes lose 30% to 50% of their shock absorption ability after about 250 miles. Shock absorption is greatly reduced when running in wet shoes. To assure adequate shock absorption when running every day, a runner should alternate shoes.

Running shoes need to be replaced every 400 to 600 miles to help prevent injuries shin splints.

Stress fractures

Stress fracture injuries cause persistent pain, most commonly in the shin, but at times in the foot, hip, thigh or pelvis. Causes and treatments for stress fractures are similar to the ones that apply to shin splint injuries.

However, stress fractures are more severe than shin splints and require serious management. Some runners may be immobilized in a walking boot or be required to use crutches to allow the stress fracture to heal.

Sometimes surgery is required if the stress fracture is severe enough or is in an area of high risk. Cardiovascular training must focus on non-weight-bearing activities swimming.

The best approaches to preventing stress fractures are proper training, proper shoe maintenance, and not running on excessively hard surfaces. A physician should evaluate if you suspect you have a stress fracture during your training.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/04/2017.


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Common running injuries: Tips for how to fix them

Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Whether or not you’re a big-time runner, landing yourself on the injured list is never fun. But when you’re training for a big race, it’s almost inevitable: increased mileage means more stress on the body, which can often translate to some unwanted ailments. The most common running injuries can be avoided with a few smart decisions before and after you hit the road.

Don’t worry, sister. We’ve got you covered. We checked in with Tyler Nightingale, DPT, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, to get the lowdown on the most common running injuries and what you can do to treat them so you can be in tip-top shape come time to toe the starting line.

Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio

1. Runner’s Knee

What is it: Another name for patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee typically presents itself as pain in the kneecap. Essentially an irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella, it’s caused when your knee isn’t moving properly on the correct track.

“It tends to occur when you have biomechanic factors that overload the knee during repetitive movements running,” says Nightingale.

When you feel it: Going down stairs, sitting with a lot of knee bend or after a long run
Who’s most at risk: People with poor eccentric (or, the lowering phase) control of foot pronation, hip adduction and internal rotation, all of which will allow your knee to turn inwards with each weighted step
Running modifications: Try to reduce your mileage and downhills while pain is most severe, suggests Nightingale. “If pain presents in the first 5 minutes and does not decrease, that’s a big sign that you should stop running.”
Rehabilitation tips: The best thing you can do is to address your overall foot and hip strength (Nightingale suggests exercises including a heel raise with ball at ankles and a stability lunge into march) and consider upping your stride frequency. A cadence increase to 178 to 182 can decrease joint loading around 30 percent per step, according to University of Wisconsin research.

2. Achilles Tendinopathy

What is it: More commonly referred to as Achilles tendinitis, this is an irritation of the tendon due to an overloading of the tissue. In the early stages it presents as inflammation and swelling, but long term can result in weakening of the tendon structures, commonly referred to as a tendinopathy.

It occurs frequently with runners, mostly due to rapid increases in mileage and poor running mechanics.

When you feel it: Going down stairs or walking uphill
Who’s most at risk: Those new to running or people with poor calf strength
Running modifications: “If pain is moderate to severe, stop running,” says Nightingale.

“While it may be possible to run through mild tendinitis, you risk worsening it without adequate rest and rehabilitation.”
Rehabilitation tips: Stretching can help to reduce symptoms: Nightingale suggests exercises including eccentric heel drops and calf stretches.

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3. Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

One of the most common running injuries that occurs on the outside of your knee, IT band syndrome occurs due to irritation of fat pads on the side of your femur (leg bone) near the knee.

This tends to happen to runners who increase their mileage too rapidly in the presence of poor single leg stability and an inability to elongate necessary hip muscles with each stride. This increases tension through the IT band, and it eventually leads to inflammation and pain.

When you feel it: Walking downhill, 10 minutes into a run, reducing with a walking break
Who’s most at risk: People with poor eccentric control of foot pronation, hip adduction and internal rotation, all of which will allow your knee to turn inwards with each step
Running modifications: Hate to break it to you, friends, but typically you cannot run with IT band syndrome. Just that boss you wish you could escape, its nagging presence is persistent until near full recovery.
Rehabilitation tips: Work on hip mobility, foot and hip stability and running mechanics. Nightingale suggests a 90-90 hip stretch and a foot pronation supination warm-up, and just with runner’s knee, consider upping your stride frequency.

4. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis presents as pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel bone or through the main arch. It starts as an inflammatory issue, but over time becomes similar to an achilles tendinopathy. Typically runners experience it after rapid increases in mileage or with poor foot and hip strength.

This nagging pain tends to be a reactive injury related to changes in running mechanics. “Consider whether you’ve been running through an old hip or back injury as it may be related,” says Nightingale.

When you feel it: Usually with your first steps bed in the morning or after long periods without movement
Who’s most at risk: People with poor foot mechanics and inadequate control of end range foot pronation or supination
Running modifications: First things first, reduce your mileage. Then, consider building in cross training— cycling—while you allow healing to take place. Nightingale says that you can run through the pain, but it tends to prolong your recovery.
Rehabilitation tips: Do warm-up stretches and strengthening exercises targeted at bettering foot mechanics, hip mobility, and core stability. Nightingale suggests this foot pronation supination warm-up, and a plantar flexion loaded heel raise.

5. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures occur as a result of cumulative stress to a particular bone. In runners, the shin bone, heel bone or metatarsals (toes, friends) are most commonly affected. Un other soft tissue injuries, stress fractures can be serious and almost always require time off from impact activity.

In some cases, they may even require a period of immobilization or a stiff walking shoe.
When you feel it: With activity but also at rest, usually a dull ache or throbbing sensation.

Who’s most at risk: Those with nutritional deficiencies other hormonal and metabolic issues and decreased bone density.

Running modifications: If you have a confirmed stress fracture you can expect to need two to three months off from running to allow your bone to heal
Rehabilitation tips: “After a period of rest, rebuild your activity tolerance letting pain be your guide,” suggests Nightingale.

If you take one thing away from Nightingale’s expert advice, know that the most common running injuries are often preventable.

Try this cool down stretch specifically designed for runners:

Now that we’ve got the tough stuff the way, here are some major LOLs runners have had while on the road and this is your inspiration station for all things running right now.


Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Running gets a bad rap for causing injuries, but the truth is that a lot of those injuries are down to people doing running wrong, rather than the sport being particularly risky. By “doing running wrong” we mean not obeying two golden rules: increase the amount and intensity of running you do slowly, and take your rest days seriously.

Generally it’s wise to stick to a distance increase of 10% more than your previous week’s total. This might feel painfully slow progress when you’re new to the sport, but going from no running at all to logging 50km weeks is a recipe for injury disaster.

You should also be wary about suddenly adding in a lot of speed work, because short fast intervals will put extra pressure on your body that it might not be used to. Stick to one speed session a week at first, and give your body time to recover afterwards.

Rest days are to be savoured – put your feet up as much as possible to let your body adapt to your training and recover, rather than accumulating fatigue that could lead to injury.

If you are struck down by injury it’s also vital to react appropriately, because often the quickest way to turn a minor niggle into a major problem is to ignore it and keep running. That said, sometimes complete rest isn’t the best thing for an injury, because you might need to strengthen that area of the body to stop problems developing.

It all depends on the injury, so we’ve rounded up the most common ways runners come a cropper. If you spot something that matches your symptoms, great – hopefully it will will help you deal with the problem.

However, if you’re getting frequent injuries then seeing a physio is essential.

They will help you identify any biomechanical problems that might be causing your injuries, as well as providing advice and exercises that will put you on the path to injury-free running.

Achilles Tendinitis

The achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the heel, so it takes a huge amount of punishment during running. If you put it under too much stress it can become painful during and after your runs.

Prevention: Strong calf muscles are the key to avoiding achilles tendon issues, as well as ensuring you build up your workload gradually. Regular calf raises and a maximum increase in overall mileage of 2 miles (about 3km) a week should keep achilles tendinopathy at bay.

The Fix: If you are struck down with achilles tendon issues the temptation is to rest up entirely and ice the area, but physiotherapist Seth O’Neill says this is often the exact opposite of what’s required because it’s not a typical inflammation injury. You need to strengthen the tendon rather than let it waste away, so keep jogging if possible – albeit with a significantly reduced workload – and start working on your calf muscles.

RECOMMENDED: Achilles Tendinitis In Depth

Runner’s Knee

Let’s start with the classic. Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) affects new and experienced runners a and generally starts as a nagging pain at the front of the knee. This can arise during or after runs, and tends to get worse the more you use the knee.

Prevention: A good start is to get your gait analysed and ensure you’re wearing the right shoes to support your running style.

RECOMMENDED: What Is Gait Analysis?

The Fix: Runner’s knee is an umbrella term for a few injuries that can be caused by a wide range of factors, so often the fix will depend on a proper diagnosis of your problem by a medical professional. If you have knee pain, rest and do exercises that strengthen the glutes, but avoid lunges, squats or any exercise that puts more pressure on the knee.

RECOMMENDED: Runner’s Knee In-Depth

Plantar Fasciitis

The most common foot issue among runners, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs under the foot. The pain is usually worse after a period of rest – if your first step bed in the morning makes you gasp, it’s probably plantar fasciitis.

Prevention: …is infinitely better than cure for plantar fasciitis. First check your feet – if you have a high arch of flat foot, you may need an insole to counter the risk of plantar fasciitis.

Strength and flexibility training that targets the legs and hips will help prevent the issue developing too.

RECOMMENDED: Strength Training For Runners To Help Reduce Injuries

The Fix: If you are suffering with plantar fasciitis, take a break from running and stretch the affected area frequently. Rolling your foot over frozen bottle of water for five minutes each day will also help.

RECOMMENDED: Plantar Fasciitis In-Depth

Shin Splints

Any pain along the front or sides of your shin bone – the tibia – is covered by the loose term shin splints. The pain will often come on or get worse while running and in severe cases can also trouble you while resting. Damage to the muscles, tendons or bone tissue around the shin can cause the pain.

Prevention: The most common cause of shin splints is a sudden, substantial increase to the amount of running you’re doing, especially on hard surfaces. So avoid that for starters.

The Fix: If you are experiencing pain, then resting and icing the area will help. Rest until you’re pain-free, then increase your mileage gradually to avoid the problem returning.

RECOMMENDED: Shin Splints In-Depth

Hamstring Strain

Your hamstrings run down the back of the thigh and are the powerhouse muscles that drive your sprints. When one goes, you’ll know about it. The pain is severe and you have to stop running immediately – you might even hear a terrifying pop when it happens.

Prevention: Make sure you warm up thoroughly before running with dynamic stretching and some jogging, especially before any speed sessions, and strengthen your hamstrings with glute bridges and deadlifts.

RECOMMENDED: How To Warm Up For A Run And Cool Down Afterwards

The Fix: If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a strained hamstring you’ll need to rest for a couple of months and build up your running distance slowly afterwards.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The IT band is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh from hip to knee. When the IT band is tight or inflamed you’ll experience pain and often swelling on the outside to the knee.

Prevention: This is another common injury related to overuse and if there’s one thing you learn from this list, it’s that overdoing it is only going to hamper your running in the long term. You might be able to prevent issues developing by shortening your stride.

The Fix: IT band syndrome often starts as a niggle that people try to run through, which only results in bigger issues that can sideline you for months. When you first experience pain, take a few rest days and reduce your overall mileage. Foam rolling the area before and after your run can help.


Mild chafing, the kind that leaves your nipples tender or slightly bloody, is not a major problem and will heal itself quickly once you stop running. But major chafing issues can cause severe pain and bring your run to a halt entirely, especially if they arise in the groin area.

Prevention: You can rub specialist anti-friction creams or vaseline on sensitive areas pre-run and reapplying if it’s a particularly long run. Wearing the right gear will also help – tight-fitting, sweat-wicking clothes that don’t rub should nip any chafing issues in the bud.

The Fix: Time heals all.


7 Most Common Running Injuries

Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

Though the joy of running is un anything else, the repeated movements involved can be hard on the body. We’ve all heard the stories or maybe even experienced some of them firsthand—the full-blown injuries that keep a runner’s shoes in the closet for weeks or months.

Whether you’re running for pleasure or training for a race, you’re bound to have aches and twinges along the way. Injury prevention isn’t about the absence of pain; it’s about having the right reaction when that pain comes along. A timely response will help you avoid acute injuries that could pull you from the pavement for an indeterminate hiatus.

How Physiotherapy Can Help Prevent Common Running Injuries

A physiotherapy appointment is a great way to get answers to the questions you have about your running pain:

  • Is it safe to run through the pain?
  • What are the signs it’s getting more serious?
  • How can I treat the pain at home?
  • What exercises will help me keep running?

Your physiotherapist can help you with information, advice, and treatment to keep you running, injury-free. Here are the 7 Most Common Running Injuries and When to Book a Physio Appointment.

1. Runner’s Knee

While it can affect other athletes, runners are the most commonly afflicted with this pain or tenderness in and/or around the kneecap.

According to a University of Calgary study, this type of pain accounts for 57% of all knee problems in Canadian runners—if you’re having pain in this area, it’s most ly runner’s knee.

Book a physio appointment when: You’re having twinges on the outside or inside of the knee when you begin your run, but then seem fine throughout, only to flare up afterward or during prolonged sitting—this is a sign that things could get worse without physio treatment.

2. Achilles Tendinitis

Up to 20% of runners are affected by this injury, which appears when the Achilles tendon (connecting the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel) comes under too much stress.

The tendon tightens and gets irritated, leading to the pain in the back of the foot.

Book a physio appointment when: You’ve got a dull pain in your heel during and after a run, but at home remedies ice usually take care of it—book a physio appointment before this pain shows up even when you’re not running.

3. Hamstring Issues

Your hamstrings make up the majority of the muscles in the back of the thighs, propelling you forward during your run; injuries involving this group can be an issue of flexibility or strength.

Hamstring strains are common and take a lot of time to heal—re-injuries often occur without the proper physiotherapy and if the re-introduction of training is rushed.

Book a physio appointment when: You have a constant ache or tightness in the back of your legs when you run, which you try to ease with a slower pace or a shorter stride—you’ll want to get physio before there’s a pop, snap or bruise.

4. Plantar Fasciitis

Foot pain accounts for 15% of all running injuries, with plantar fasciitis at the top of that list.

This injury involves small tears and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments of the foot, resulting in pain that might feel a dull ache or bruise along your arch or heel.

Book a physio appointment when: You’re having foot pain when you first get bed, walking around after sitting or the first few strides of a run. It may disappear after that, but you’ll want to avoid having that constant pain by consulting with a physiotherapist as soon as possible

5. Shin Splints

Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, this achy pain down your shins makes up about 15% of all running injuries.

It may seem small, but these are actually tears happening around your shinbone and can develop into something more serious.

Book a physio appointment when: You can walk and even jump without pain, but there’s a tightness and ache around your shin when you run. Before it becomes too tender to touch (or walk), see a physiotherapist for simple ways to correct the issue.

6. Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

When the band that runs along the outside of your thigh—connecting hip to knee and shin—gets irritated, runners experience a pain down the outer area of the knee joint.

At 12% of all running injuries, it’s often mistaken for a knee injury.

Book a physio appointment when: Two to three kilometres into your run, you start experiencing pain and tightness on the outside of your knee. If you walk it out, the pain disappears, but this means it’s time for physio—before you hear the clicking or popping sensation of the IT band snapping against the joint.

7. Stress Fracture

For runners, the constant impact of activity can cause too much strain on the shins, feet or heel bones and lead to a stress fracture—the most serious of all running injuries.

Different than an acute fracture that happens in one brief moment, stress fractures happen gradually, which means they can be prevented.

Book a physio appointment when: You’ve got pain when you run, but also sometimes when you’re on your feet for too long. any progressive injury, it’s key to listen to your pain and respond early—a physiotherapist can help make sure you’re on track to prevent or recover from stress fractures caused by running.

Find a Physiotherapy Clinic Near You

Physiotherapy can help you recover from a running injury—but we’d rather help you before it gets to that point.

pt Health has clinics conveniently located in your city with friendly, trained physiotherapists who are happy to get and keep you run-ready. Find one near you and book a physiotherapy appointment today.


The 5 Most Common Running Injuries and How to Fix Them

Common Running Injuries And What To Do About Them

How to make it better: Start with gentle isometrics (pushing against something without any movement). “This is important because it guides the healing process of the strain and minimizes the buildup of erratically placed scar tissue,” says Greenberg.

And again: Before you go back to your regularly scheduled programming, make sure to start slow. Introduce exercises, including some plyometrics (think squat jumps, skaters), before returning to distance running. “Often, people don't realize how weak or easily fatigued the muscle is and skip this phase. That puts you at high risk to re-injure.”

3. Shin Splints

Generally speaking, shin splints are pain along the shin bone on the front lower portion of your leg.

This may present itself as a shooting pain on the shin toward the midline of your body that shoots down toward the arch or on the front of the shin, more toward the outside, which then tends to radiate upward to the knee.

“These vary greatly in severity and are quite common in new runners whose legs aren't accustomed to the stress, or have poor choice of footwear.”

Can you keep running? That’s a no, according to the expert. If this type of injury becomes inflamed, even just standing or walking can keep it from healing properly. “These injuries are among the most common to lead to stress fractures, and are signs of poor mechanics and overall technique or strength.”

How to make it better: Rest up! Give the inflammation time to go down, and seek out a physical therapist or running coach ASAP to get a gait analysis (this is a fancy term for having someone check out your running form and how your feet come into contact with the ground during your stride). The good news? “Most of the time, shin splints are a result of technique errors, which a person can correct to avoid future issues.

4. Piriformis Syndrome

This is a burning pain near the middle of the butt cheek, caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve.

The syndrome itself refers to an excessive muscle spasm in the piriformis, which is a deep hip-stabilizing muscle that is located on top of that pesky sciatic nerve. Because of its location, it can often be confused with sciatica or lower-back problems.

“A good doctor or therapist will be able to determine if the issue is local to the piriformis or if there are bigger issues going on.”

How bad is it? Not terrible. “This usually gets better when you warm up, and in some respects exercise will help to get the tension to go away.

If the pain goes away immediately when warming up and doesn't return until many hours after the run, it's okay to do moderate amounts of exercise as long as recovery and rehab are integrated in that game plan.

” If it worsens? Definitely go seek out the opinion of a physical therapist.

How to make it better: A whole lot of strengthening work targeted at the hips and core can help take pressure off the nerve, ranging from hip-joint mobilizations and glute work. In addition, try the best you can to reduce sitting time and do some local soft-tissue release using a lacrosse ball, foam roller, Theragun, or other massage device.

5. Achilles Tendonitis

Ever wake up in the morning, step on the floor for the first time, and feel a sharp pain in your calf? It could be a sign of Achilles tendonitis, which presents itself when the ankle hasn’t been moving enough.

Generally speaking, this is soreness at the back of the ankle on the cord- portion of the Achilles.

“It's associated with either an inflammation or degenerative wearing on the tendon from poor usage, and generally occurs on one limb only.”

How bad is it? Same sort of guidelines as the runner’s knee advice: Don’t push through it, especially if you’re new to your specific sport or training cycle.

The good news? It's an easy injury to do other strength training with, because it typically isn't irritated by squatting, lunging, deadlifting, or general weightlifting.

Plus, those strength inputs can be very helpful in creating a better surrounding structure so that the Achilles doesn't get as much stress placed upon it.

How to make it better: “I'd always recommend getting it assessed by a physical therapist, because there are a lot of things that can stunt the healing process and cause the issues, such as lack of ankle-joint mobility, lack of hip extension on the same side, excessive body lean, or favoring of one leg due to other body imbalance.”

Greenberg says that heavy-loaded eccentric exercises are known to be the best and most effective strategy here. Think single-leg squats, lowering yourself at first on one leg for a count of 5 seconds without loss of balance. Then focus on that slow descent with a progressing weight. If you're not sure, start light and see how it responds.