When you run, there’s added pressure on the 30 joints and 26 bones in your foot, making it quite common for overuse and even traumatic injuries to happen sometimes. So, what are the most common running injuries, and how long does it take for a running injury to heal? Here’s a list of foot issues often linked to running.

What are the Most Common Injuries, and How Long Does It Take For A Running Injury To Heal?

Plantar Fasciitis

Runners who experience stabbing heel pain may have plantar fasciitis. The pain might be more intense when ascending stairs, standing for an extended period, or after prolonged rest, like getting out of bed in the early morning.

The plantar fascia is a thick band made of fibrous tissue extending along the underside of the foot, connecting the toes and heel. Inflamed fascia can result in painful symptoms ranging from mildly bothersome to severely debilitating. Conservative treatments, such as stretching, resting, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., ibuprofen), successfully treat 90% of cases.


How long does it take for a running injury to heal?

People with metatarsalgia may sometimes feel like there are small stones in their shoes or experience bruising on the balls of their feet. Pain arises between the 2nd and 3rd toes, 3rd and 4th toes, or close to the big toe and is particularly noticeable during running, walking, or standing.

Metatarsalgia symptoms develop when there’s too much pressure on the metatarsal bones, the long bones found in the foot that go to the toes. Intensive running training might result in metatarsalgia. Additional risk factors involve wearing poorly fitting high-heeled shoes.

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma happens when fibrous tissue develops around a foot nerve. Symptoms resemble metatarsalgia, with sensations like burning or tingling, numbness, and sharp, stabbing, or shooting pains.

Certain doctors view Morton’s Neuroma as a form of metatarsalgia (some even term it Morton’s metatarsalgia), while others see it as a distinct diagnosis. Morton’s neuroma is also occasionally termed forefoot neuroma or interdigital neuroma. Seeking a doctor’s advice is crucial for this condition, and it could worsen if not treated appropriately.

Tibia Stress Fracture

Tibia stress fractures often happen to runners and are the most common type of stress fracture linked to running. Women who run and have a lower-than-average body-mass index face the highest risk of experiencing a tibia stress fracture.

There are several types of injuries that athletes often sustain from running.

A tibia stress fracture is known as a crack in the shinbone or tibia, gradually forming and typically causing deep pain within the shin. This pain becomes more pronounced during activities like standing, walking, or running, and the skin over the suspected fracture site may feel tender and painful. If left untreated, the pain often worsens over time.

Some stress fractures are not easily visible on standard X-rays. A doctor suspecting a stress fracture might recommend a bone scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis, though this step is not always essential before starting non-surgical treatment. Recovery usually takes around 4-6 weeks.

Pulled Calf Muscle (Gastrocnemius Muscle)

The calf’s biggest muscle is the gastrocnemius, and it’s susceptible to strains and tears in runners. These issues arise when running gradually increases without proper training or when engaging in abrupt movements like jumping, pushing off, or making quick turns.

Minor tears in the gastrocnemius muscle fibers can result in a slight ache. Recovery for the muscle may take a week or two. The calf might experience stiffness and soreness throughout this period, but individuals can still walk and engage in light jogging, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.

Severe muscle tear, marked by a complete muscle rupture, causes pain, bruising, and swelling. Someone experiencing a severe muscle strain might struggle to walk normally and need several months to recover. Occasionally, surgical intervention might be suggested in rare cases.

Greater Trochanteric Bursitis (Hip Bursitis)

This kind of bursitis typically leads to pain and tenderness on the outer part of the hip. As symptoms advance, the pain might spread beyond the thigh and occasionally reach the buttock, groin, and lower back.

The greater trochanter is a bony bulge on the femur (thighbone). The trochanteric bursa is a small sac filled with fluid that acts as both a cushion and a lubricant between the greater trochanter and the iliotibial (IT) band, a thick piece of connective tissue stretching from the hip to the upper part of the tibia (shinbone).

In runners, the trochanteric bursa can experience frequent “mini-traumas.” Over time, the bursa becomes inflamed, leading to painful symptoms. A tight IT band can worsen hip bursitis.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendinitis is when the tendon linking your calf muscle to your heel gets inflamed. This can occur if you push yourself too hard by running more or making your runs more intense. Ignoring Achilles tendinitis raises the chance of your Achilles tendon tearing. When that happens, surgery is often needed to fix the torn tendon.

IT Band Syndrome

Your IT band, short for the iliotibial band, is a long strip of tissue connecting your outer hip to your knee. This band supports your knee stability during walking or running.

Repeated friction between the IT band and your leg bone leads to IT band syndrome. Runners commonly experience this due to tight IT bands. Insufficient strength in gluteal muscles, abdominals, or hips can also contribute to this issue.

IT band syndrome results in a sharp ache on the outer part of your leg, typically just above the knee. The IT band might also feel sensitive to touch. Pain often intensifies when you flex your knee.

Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries are also common in runners.

While in the running cycle’s swing phase, your hamstrings play a role in slowing down your lower leg. If you have weak, tight, or tired hamstrings, they might be more susceptible to injuries.

Unlike sprinters, it’s rare for long-distance runners to encounter a sudden tear in their hamstrings. Long-distance runners frequently endure gradual hamstring strains arising from repetitive small tears in the fibers and connective tissue of the hamstring muscle.

If you’ve got a hamstring injury, you might feel:

  • An ache or discomfort in the back of your upper leg
  • A hamstring muscle that’s sensitive when touched
  • Weakness and stiffness in your hamstring

The time it takes to get better depends on how bad your hamstring injury is. Usually, it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks on average. Sometimes, it drags on for about a year if you don’t get enough help with physiotherapy and stretching. Going back to sports too soon is the main reason for getting hurt again. Recovering usually means building up your muscles to avoid getting injured repeatedly.

Treatment Options For Running Injuries

If you feel pain or discomfort or struggle with running, it’s advisable to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to eliminate other potential issues.

For numerous typical running injuries, the usual treatment involves:

  • Attending physical therapy sessions and engaging in particular exercises
  • Follow the RICE method, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen for relief.
  • Reducing the distance and frequency of your runs

How Do I Get Back Into Running Without Injury: Injury Prevention Tips

Running injuries can affect anyone, but you can reduce the risks of injury by utilizing these tips:

Warm-up. Start your run with a gentle jog or dynamic stretches like arm or leg swings for 5 to 10 minutes.

Gradually increase your running volume. Many runners stick to the 10 percent rule, avoiding raising their weekly running volume by more than 10 percent at once.

There are ways to prevent injuries from running.

Address nagging injuries promptly. Rest these injuries immediately to prevent them from becoming more serious. Consult a physical therapist for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan.

Improve your technique. Running incorrectly may add stress to your muscles and joints. Enhance your skills by collaborating with a running coach or recording your running form.

Strengthen your hips. Integrate stability exercises, like glute bridges or one-legged squats, into your training plan to safeguard your knees and ankles.

Opt for soft surfaces. Running on rubber tracks, grass, sand, or gravel is gentler on your joints compared to pavement.

If you’re managing a lingering injury, try running on a soft surface until your discomfort diminishes. Explore cross-training. Introduce low-impact exercises into your routine, such as cycling or swimming, to enhance your aerobic fitness while allowing your joints a respite from the repetitive impact of running.

The Bottom Line

Lots of runners face injuries eventually. Common places for running injuries are your knees, legs, and feet. If you feel pain or discomfort when running, it’s good to check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to rule out other conditions.

The RICE protocol, an NSAID for pain, a physical therapy plan, and specific exercises can aid recovery from many usual running injuries. Reducing the distance and frequency of your runs can also speed up your recovery.

If you need help treating your injuries sustained from running, we have experts who can give you the treatment you need. Please reach out to us today!

Precision Sports Physical Therapy is committed to helping you increase your quality of life by being the best version of yourself.


Injury Recovery

Manual Therapy

Strength And Conditioning

Functional Movement Screening

Sports-Specific-Rehab and Training

Return to Sports Training

Precision Sports Physical Therapy is committed to helping you increase your quality of life by being the best version of yourself.


Injury Recovery

Manual Therapy

Strength And Conditioning

Functional Movement Screening

Sports-Specific-Rehab and Training

Return to Sports Training