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Recent research has shown that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once yearly. But why are running injuries so common?

Most injuries are induced by overuse — applying repeated force over an extended period. Sudden changes in training volume can also cause some damage, whether you are a newbie or a vet.

The following are some of the most common running ailments and injuries that plague those who hit the pavement, together with a few ways to stop the pain.

How Common Are Running Injuries?

Slight aches and pains are common for runners entering their training programs. Several of these symptoms are signs that the body is improving healthily. Regrettably, even mild aches and pains could indicate a much more severe health issue. Muscle and joint injuries are quite typical among runners, and these conditions can range from temporary discomfort that needs rest to chronic pain that needs medical intervention.

Why are running injuries so common?

Broadly, there are four categories of runners depending on the prevalence of their exercise. Marathon runners are the most intense among the group, and more than half of these individuals suffer an injury yearly. Only 32% of long-distance runners face running injuries yearly, while 27% of novice runners get injuries. Nevertheless, novice runners are twice as likely to get injured than those who run recreationally.

Whether a person is focused on running or utilizes this exercise as part of their training regimen, all athletes can get an injury from running. Those beginning to run or increasing their speed or distance might overextend themselves and sustain physical pain. Even experienced runners and longtime athletes can suffer an injury due to overrunning.

Why Are Running Injuries So Common: Most Common Types of Knee Injuries

Runner’s Knee

Experiencing pain and tenderness around or behind the kneecap is often a sign of patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as a runner’s knee (and yep, this ailment is so typical among runners that it was named after them).

The repeated force of hitting the pavement, along with downhill running, weak hips, and muscle imbalances, can put extra stress on your kneecap. So stick to uphill or flat terrain and opt for softer running surfaces whenever possible.

To treat the pain, experts recommend using a knee brace or taping your knee in the short term, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and reducing your mileage.

Physical therapy can also prevent and treat this nagging knee pain.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Or ITBS

There are several types of injuries caused by running.

Distance runners take note: This injury isn’t your friend. ITBS triggers pain outside your knee because of the Iliotibial band inflammation, a thick tendon stretching from your pelvic bone down your thigh.

Common culprits include adding in mileage (half-marathon training, anyone?), weak hips, and downhill running.

To ease the pain, give those muscles some love. Specific stretches and foam rolling may reduce inflammation and help reduce pain.​

Achilles Tendinitis

In simple terms, Achilles tendinitis means the tendon at the back of your lower leg, right above the heel bone, is inflamed.

New studies indicate the inflammation is either short-lived or absent. This shifted the accepted treatment strategy from rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications to a more engaged method of lessening the strain on the tendon and gradually enhancing strength.

Symptoms often begin with an ache and tenderness when pinching the tendon. Sometimes, a thickening is present. Pain and stiffness might be noticeable in the morning, which eases as you walk around.

Several causes can lead to Achilles tendinitis, including improper footwear and training faults such as running on uneven ground or increasing mileage significantly.

Ankle Sprains

A sprain happens when the ankle rolls inward or outward, stretching the ligament (and inducing serious pain). Curbs, tree branches, potholes, and just unfortunate landings are a few of the culprits.

Recovery might be slightly shaky initially, but many experts recommend doing balance exercises (such as single-leg squats) to strengthen the muscles around the ankle.

Pulled Muscles

Fibers and tendons can tear once a muscle is overstretched, causing a pulled muscle. Muscle pulls in the hamstring and calf are common among runners.

Inflexibility, overuse, and forgetting to warm up are possible causes. To prevent a pull, do a proper warmup, cooldown, and dynamic stretching before a workout.

While the pain persists, stop running (likely for five days or longer) and stick to gentle stretching and icing the muscle.

Side Stitches

There are several types of injuries that could be caused by running.

Ever get that awful pain in the side of your stomach? Side stitches (technically referred to as exercise-related transient abdominal pain) can creep up, affecting about 70 percent of runners.

Many experts believe the pain is induced by activities that involve repetitive torso movement — like running.

If (or when) a side stitch strikes, bend forward and tight your core or breathe with pursed lips to help ease the ache. Maintaining a good posture while running may also help.

Plantar Fasciitis

A thick band of fibrous tissue known as the plantar fascia stretches under the foot, from the heel down to the toes. Running provides strength, stability, and shock absorption to the foot during the stance phase. The plantar Fascia also helps maintain the medial arch of the foot.

The most typical causes of plantar fasciitis are changes to the running surface or sudden increases in mileage, for example, or training for the first time or incorrect running shoes.

You might feel pain on the bottom of your foot, but it’s usually more frequent within the heel.

Patellae Tendinitis

The tendon of the patellae begins on the underside of the patella, also known as the knee cap, and inserts into a bony bump called the tibial tuberosity, situated about 3cm beneath the patellae. This arrangement enhances the leverage for the robust quadriceps muscle, resembling a pulley mechanism.

This is normally a training injury rather than a specific running injury once the athlete’s program involves lots of jumping or plyometrics. Also, excessive kicking in team sports or jumping sports like basketball may trigger injury. Once the tendon is aggravated, running might become painful, particularly going down stairs or hills.

Tenderness and pain at the base of the patellae are normally the first indications of developing this condition. It often begins with pain during jumping only, but if it is ignored, the pain will creep into running and everyday activities.

Healthcare pros suggest rest and physical therapy to help soothe and strengthen the tendon.

Shin Splints & Stress Fracture

Shin splints are an umbrella term to describe several conditions involving the tibia bone (shin bone). Tibial stress and medial tibial stress fractures are the two most common bone injuries felt by runners. It can be hard to distinguish between the two. Still, either way, if you have pain anywhere around the tibial bone, it’s important to have the symptoms accurately diagnosed, as these injuries, if not managed properly, can stop you from running for months.

The first signs of an injury begin with mild pain along the shin or to the muscles adjacent to the shin, particularly the tibialis anterior. This typically occurs near the end of a run and improves with rest. Compared to most other overuse injuries, ignoring these early symptoms can very quickly result in more serious symptoms and the development of stress fractures.

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

This is the most typical type of shin splint affecting runners and involves pain anywhere along the inner edge of the shin bone. Pain is often dull and can radiate along the shin bone’s length. A tissue thickening can typically be found around the area of pain.

Tibial Stress Fracture

Physical therapy can help with injuries caused by running.

Compared to MTSS, stress fractures generally present as a sharp, throbbing, localized pain. Walking and hopping may also cause pain.

These injuries are commonly seen in occasional or new runners or experienced runners increasing their mileage, especially on hard surfaces. They are common in runners of all levels who must incorporate sufficient recovery into their training.

How Can I Lessen My Risk Of A Running Injury?

Among the most effective ways to lessen your risk of running-related injury is to cross-train. This idea may be new because many runners concentrate only on running while working out without exploring other forms of exercise.

Nevertheless, swimming, biking, running on an anti-gravity treadmill, and flexibility and strength training are all key aspects of a well-rounded running program. While increasing mileage and speed are important, being inclusive with the workouts will keep you balanced and lessen your risk of developing an overuse injury.

Picking the correct pair of running shoes can also be vital to your training and injury prevention. Running specialty stores have experts who analyze your gait and recommend the right shoe category.

One more key element of a well-rounded regimen is implementing a solid warmup, like a slow jog or dynamic stretching, before running. Getting your body acclimated to the exercise before jumping right in can also help prevent getting injured.

Lastly, effective physical therapy can help you get on your feet safely and more efficiently. If you need reliable treatment from experts, please reach out to us today!