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How to Prevent The Most Common Running Injuries?

common running injuries for athletesCommon running injuries happen quit often. But you can reduce their severity or avoid running-related injuries altogether with proper care and prevention tactics. Running can be an awesome way to stay fit and healthy but has risks. Runners can often suffer from common running injuries, such as knee pain, shin splints, and hip pain, that can be incredibly painful and debilitating. Whether you’re new to running or logging years in miles, it’s important to learn about the typical issues that runners face so you can take proactive steps toward injury prevention. 

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So, what are the most common running injuries, and how can you prevent them, protect yourself, and keep your running performance on track?

  • Plantar Fasciitisis caused by overuse/strain on the plantar fascia, a ligament connecting the heel to the toes. As we go about our daily activities, we don’t realize the strain we put on our feet. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that can develop when the plantar fascia, a ligament in your feet that runs from your heel to your toes, becomes overused or strained. This leads to pain, particularly in the heel, and makes walking or standing unbearable. Whether you’re an athlete who runs frequently or spend hours on your feet at work, taking care of your feet and seeking treatment if you begin experiencing pain is important. We can help you get back on your feet pain-free before the discomfort becomes unbearable. The key is to address plantar fasciitis early on at the first sign of symptoms. 


  • Shin Splintsinflammation in your shin muscles resulting from overtraining: Are you an avid runner or athlete looking to push your limits? Sometimes, our passion for fitness can cause us to overtrain and put too much strain on our bodies. One common injury from overtraining is shin splints. Shin splints are caused by swelling in your shin muscles and can cause severe pain and discomfort. It’s important to take precautions while training to prevent this injury, such as gradually increasing intensity and wearing proper footwear. If you experience shin splints, rest is crucial for your muscles to recover properly. Never forget that pushing yourself too hard can lead to setbacks in your fitness journey, so it’s a false economy. 


  • Achilles Tendinitisis local inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which leads to pain in the back of the ankle or calf. Have you or someone you know been experiencing pain in the back of the ankle or calf? It could be from Achilles tendinitis, which is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. We often see this condition in athletes who engage in repetitive jumping or running activities. Still, it can also occur in anyone who stresses the Achilles tendon. The pain and discomfort associated with Achilles tendinitis can be debilitating and impact activities like walking or exercising. If you suspect Achilles tendinitis, seeing a physical therapist is important to prevent further damage.


  • Runner’s Kneeis caused by weakened leg muscles, causing pain around your knee joint. Running is a brilliant way to keep active and fit. However, if you’re experiencing pain around your knee joint, it can be frustrating to keep up with your workout routine. This type of pain is commonly known as a runner’s knee, and weakened muscles in your legs cause it. The discomfort varies from patient to patient, from mild to really severe. Various factors, such as tight muscles, improper training, or excessive running, can also cause it. While it can be tempting to push through it, it’s important to address the issue with the help of a physical therapist to avoid further injury. Incorporating strengthening exercises and taking time to rest and recover can help alleviate the symptoms and get you back to pounding the pavement quickly.


  • Stress Fracturesare tiny little breaks in bones caused by repetitive pounding on hard surfaces. Stress fractures are tiny breaks in our bones that can cause serious discomfort and halt your running training. They’re typically caused by repetitive pounding on hard surfaces, leading to a buildup of strain on the bones over time. While these fractures can happen to anyone, professional runners and those who engage in high-impact activities are particularly susceptible. Symptoms range from minor pain and discomfort to severe swelling, and treatment options vary depending on the severity of the injury. If you suspect you’ve suffered a stress fracture, it’s important to see a physical to avoid further damage and to help speed up the recovery process.


  • IT Band Syndromewhen the band that runs from hip to knee becomes tight, it can cause pain along its course. IT band syndrome is a common ailment for athletes and active people. When the band running from the hip to the knee becomes tight, it can cause great pain and discomfort. The IT band stabilizes the knee during physical activity. But it can create friction and inflammation when it becomes too tight. This tightness and swelling can lead to a range of symptoms, including pain on the outer part of the knee or hip, swelling, and tenderness. Seeking help from a physical therapist as soon as possible can help prevent further pain and even more severe injuries.

Treating these common running injuries as soon as possible ensures your body can continue running and performing at optimal levels. Stretching properly and warming up before intense physical activity is the best way to prevent these injuries. It’s also crucial to listen to your body. If some part of it hurts more than usual during a run, take a break and give that area the rest it needs to recover. However, if you suffer one of these injuries, the fastest and most effective way to fix the issue and get back to running is to consult a physical therapist for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

stretching helps prevent running injuries

Need Help with Common Running Injuries? – Physical Therapy Can Help 

Whether you’re a competitive runner or just like going for a leisurely jog, running is one of America’s most common forms of exercise. However, it can also lead to some serious injuries if not taken seriously. The good news? Working with a physical therapist on preventative and corrective measures can help keep you healthy and enable you to continue doing what you love – running.

Physical therapy is a powerful tool in helping to control the pain and inflammation caused by running injuries. We can teach you various exercises and stretches to help heal and strengthen your body and reduce your risk of injury. Working with a trained professional following a setback from an injury or the painful residual effects of old injuries is important because we tailor the preventive and corrective exercises to your needs and quickly get you back on track. We also educate you on the anatomy of a runner’s body and how to use this information to prevent injuries in the future. Each part of your body plays a significant role in your running performance, from your head down to your toes. With repetitive movements and intense impact on specific areas, it’s important to identify which parts of your body are most vulnerable to injury. For instance, your feet, knees, and hips are commonly affected due to the continuous pounding on the pavement. As you understand the ins and outs of your body’s anatomy, you’ll be better equipped to tailor your training and take preventive measures to keep yourself healthy and strong.

Keeping your body healthy and free from common running injuries is crucial to achieving your running goals. That’s why incorporating the strengthening exercises we teach you during sessions into your routine is essential. Not only can it prevent future injuries, but it can also improve your running performance. Strengthening exercises help build muscles, increase bone density, and improve your overall running posture. By having a stronger body, you’re better equipped to handle the impact of running. It’s important to note that strengthening exercises aren’t complicated and can often be done with just your body weight or simple equipment. With consistent practice, you’ll notice a decrease in your risk of injury and an increase in strength and stamina. 

But that’s not all. Keeping your muscles flexible and mobile also prevents injuries and improves performance. Two popular techniques for achieving this are stretching and foam rolling. Stretching increases your range of motion and muscle flexibility. Foam rolling, on the other hand, helps to release tension in your muscles and reduces soreness. We can teach you how to do these exercises properly. Incorporating these techniques into your routine can greatly impact your running performance and overall well-being, whether training for a big run or just enjoying running to clear your mind and boost your endorphin levels (happy chemicals)

Physical therapy is also a great way to get personalized advice and support as you overcome most common running injuries. You need to use proper form and technique to get the most out of your running workouts. You can prevent injuries and optimize your performance by being mindful of your posture, foot strike, and arm positioning – all of which we can help. When your body is in peak form, you can run faster and for longer, allowing you to reach your fitness goals more quickly. So please don’t underestimate the importance of regular physical therapy because it can make all the difference in your running performance. 

One last thing we must point out is that even though running is undoubtedly one of the most popular and rewarding forms of exercise, it’s also easy to overdo it. Overuse injuries from running happen when the body doesn’t have enough time to rest and recover between workouts. These injuries can strike anyone, from seasoned athletes to beginners. They can range from minor annoyances to severe pain that affects your daily life.

That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to take adequate rest and recovery times seriously. Incorporating recovery periods into your running routine can help decrease the risk of injury, improve your overall performance, and even make your runs more enjoyable. So, listen to your body and prioritize rest and recovery so you can prevent many of the common running injuries and keep running for the long haul.

Brandon Evans

Brandon Evans

Dr. Brandon Evans is the Founder and Owner of ProActive Physical Therapy and Wellness. He received his bachelor's degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Western Kentucky. Dr. Evans has vast experience in outpatient orthopedics, hospital physical therapy, health and wellness, and preventative medicine. Dr. Evans provides peace of mind, reassurance, and hope to people who have previously been told:
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