The Most Common Running Injuries and What You Can Do To Prevent Them

Running is a great way to stay active and in shape. [TWEET THIS!] Nonetheless, injuries related to the sport are extremely common. Research found that nearly 80 percent of runners are injured each year, forcing them to take time off from their routines.

Most running injuries are caused by overtraining and not enough rest. Try as you might to take extra precaution, the truth of the matter is that nobody is immune to injuries. Before anything else, bear in mind that our tips on preventing running injuries are not medical treatments.

Remember to check with your doctor if something isn’t right. Now let’s take a look at the most common running injuries and see what you can do to prevent them!

Runner’s Knee

This injury is so common among runners that it has been named after them. Clinically termed as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Runner’s Knee is when you experience a tender pain around or behind the kneecap. The primary reason behind this is the constant amount of stress on the knees. Downhill running, imbalanced muscles, and weak hips are some of the factors that cause this injury.

Prevent it: Stick to flat or uphill terrain to keep the stress of the repetitive pounding force off your knees. Some experts also suggest taping your knee or using a knee brace for support as it heals.

Ankle Sprain

Many people experience sprains but nobody experiences this injury more than runners. [TWEET THIS!] Runners often get ankle sprains from running in areas where the ground is uneven. Sprains happen when your ankle rolls in or out too far that the motion stretches the ligaments beyond their capacity.

Prevent it: Always be mindful of your environment. When running, keep an eye out for tree roots, curbs, potholes, and other obstacles that may trip you. Depending on the severity, sprained ankles may take a while to heal. Rest days are a must if you find yourself dealing with this injury. Keep your injured ankle elevated as much as possible and apply ice to help reduce the swelling.

Pulled Muscles

Pulled muscles occur when a muscle is overstretched which causes fibers and tendons to tear. Among runners, this is most common in the calf and hamstring. Often times, this is caused by overuse, inflexibility, and not warming up prior to running.

Running sport injury - twisted broken ankle

Prevent it: “The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t run more than 10 percent further than your last run,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Al-Amin Kassam said. He also suggests warming up before heading out. “You need to get the muscles ready to fire, so use a mix of dynamic stretching and slow jogging,” he said.

Chafing

When skin rubs against skin, it can get angry and irritated. [TWEET THIS!] This stinging injury usually happens in the inner thighs and inner glutes. For some runners, the repetitive friction makes it too painful to carry on with their training until it has completely healed.

Prevent it: To prevent your skin from more friction, throw on a pair of longer running shorts. [TWEET THIS!] You can also use lubricants to keep things smooth and move without the sting!

Shin Splints

Shin splints can simply be captured in four words: too much, too soon. This usually happens due to overuse after long periods of inactivity. In runners, this usually happens because the calf muscles develop to be stronger than the ones on the outside of the shin.

Prevent it: Stretching can do magic for runners. The same is true for preventing shin splints. Stretch your calves regularly including rest days. Some leg strength training exercise can help too, so maybe try to put in some time at the gym.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are serious bone injuries that runners often get after a big increase of mileage. This occurs due to the overuse of the muscles wherein they become fatigued and are unable to absorb the added shock.

Prevent it: Though common, stress fractures are one of the most serious injuries that runners can get. [TWEET THIS!] At this point, you need to consider taking some serious rest days. “The only cure is rest,” Dr. Kassam said.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Marathon Running With An Injury

Commonly known as ITB Syndrome or ITBS, this injury is probably one of a runner’s biggest nightmares. ITBS triggers pains on the outside of the knee due to the inflammation of the Iliotibial band which is a thick tendon that stretches from the pelvic bone down to your thigh. Increased mileage, downhill running, and weak hips are some of the reasons for acquiring ITBS.

Prevent it: Runners, rolling foams are your best friends! They help you loosen tight muscles and speed up recovery time. Stretching your muscles with rolling foams may decrease inflammation and ease the pain.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis is a painful inflammation of the Achilles, the tissue that connects your heel to your lower leg muscles. There are several culprits to getting Achilles Heel including high mileage increase, improper footwear, and tight lower leg muscles.

Prevent it: While most runners remember to stretch before heading out, many still forget the importance of stretching post-workout. Remember to stretch your leg muscles, especially your calves, and wear shoes that give great support. Avoid adding stress on your tendons by cutting back on hill climbing routines and going for flat surfaces.

Jumper’s Knee

Yet another injury named after a group of people! [TWEET THIS!] Also known as Patellar Tendinitis, this injury is also fairly common among runners. Jumper’s Knee occurs when muscle overuse leads to small tears in the patellar tendon, a piece of muscle that connects the kneecap to the shinbone.

Prevent it: Strength training the hamstrings and quads can help runners prevent this injury. At the onset of pain, gently ice the knee to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. Runners can also consult their doctors for physical therapy to help soothe and strengthen the injured tendon.

Plantar Fasciitis

Dr. Kassam said that this injury is the most common cause of heel pain in runners and is linked to Achilles tendinitis. “The cause is thought to be lots of little micro-traumas to the ligament that runs under your foot,” he said.

Prevent it: Investing in a good pair of running shoes with extra cushioning is the best way to prevent this injury. Find a pair that is both comfortable and fits you well.  Stretching your toes back and forth can also help you avoid acquiring this injury!

Like most sports, running has its own fair share of injuries. However, this shouldn’t hinder veteran and new runners from enjoying it. Though injuries may pose as an obstacle, and for others, a reason to stop altogether, there are ways to prevent them. With just the right amount of precaution, you can run towards a healthy lifestyle and away from injuries!

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