5 Most Common Running Injuries

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Running is one of the most popular ways to exercise. Almost anyone can do it, and the activity offers numerous health benefits. Like any sport, however, injuries can occur from time to time. Some of the most common problems that can develop may be treatable with rest, ice, and stretching. Other more serious or advanced conditions require medical treatment. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms detailed below, our board certified orthopaedic surgeons can develop a customized treatment plan and help get you back on track as quickly as possible.

1. Runner’s Knee
Medically referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), runner’s knee develops when cartilage located on the underside of the kneecap (patella) is irritated or inflamed. This more commonly occurs after long runs and running downhill, but it can happen to anyone with weak hips, quads, and/or glutes (buttocks), or patients with certain anatomical indicators.

2. Achilles Tendonitis
Your calf muscles are held in position by the Achilles tendon, located on the back of the heel. If this tendon becomes stressed or inflamed, it can tighten and cause pain. This condition can develop if you have weak calf muscles or if you suddenly increase the difficulty of your workouts (such as adding in hills or incorporating speedwork).

3. Stress Fracture
Enough strain, weight, and stress on a bone over time can lead to a fracture—just the same as a sudden fall can. For runners, this happens most often in the shin (tibia), heel (calcaneus), or foot (metatarsals). Overtraining is the most common reason for this issue, and it tends to affect women more often than men. Even when not exercising, you’ll likely feel pain in the area of the fracture.

4. Plantar Fasciitis
If it feels like the bottom of your foot is bruised or achy, you may have plantar fasciitis. This common condition occurs when the tendons running along the bottom of your foot (from toes to heel) are torn or irritated. Running demands a lot of your feet, and this issue affects around 10 percent of runners.

5. IT Band Syndrome
Spanning the length of your thigh from the hip to the knee, the iliotibial (IT) band can easily become inflamed if you increase mileage too quickly, run downhill often, have weak hips and glutes, or have one leg slightly longer than the other. Once inflamed, the IT band can rub against the femur and kneecap, causing pain on the outside of the knee that may radiate up and down the leg.

In many cases, these injuries can be resolved with reduced activity, ice, and physical therapy, but every concern is unique. If you’re experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced sports medicine surgeons.

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