Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment
Running is a great way to stay in shape. But it can take a toll on your muscles and joints. To avoid running injuries, it's important to take precautions before you set out.
WebMD takes a look at common running injuries and gives you tips to prevent and treat them.
10 Common Running Injuries
Most running injuries happen when you push yourself too hard. Adding distance or speed to your running routine, running up hills, and interval training are just some of the reasons running injuries occur. Body mechanics -- the way your body is designed -- also play a role.
Many injuries occur when you first start running or after recovering from an injury. The hips, knees, legs, and feet are the most vulnerable to injury.
Here are 10 common running injuries.
Runner's knee. This is a common overuse injury. Runner's knee has several different causes. But it's commonly due to the kneecap being out of alignment.
Over time, the cartilage on the kneecap can wear down. Vigorous activity leads to pain around the kneecap, particularly when:
- going up or down stairs
- sitting with the knee bent for a long time
Stress fracture. This is a small crack in a bone that causes pain and discomfort. It typically affects runners in the shin and feet. It is often due to going too hard before your body gets used to a new activity.
Pain gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Rest is important, as continued stress on the bone can lead to more serious injury.
Shin splint. A pain that occurs in the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints commonly occur after a change in activity, such as running longer distances or increasing the number of days you run too quickly.
People with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.
- stretching exercises
- slow return to activity after several weeks of healing
Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. That's the large tendon that attaches the calf to the back of the heel.
Achilles tendinitis causes pain and stiffness in the area of the tendon, especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the tendon, often due to increasing running distance too quickly. Tight calf muscles can also contribute.
- icing the area
- calf stretches
Muscle pull. A small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain, often caused by overstretching of a muscle. If you suffer a pulled muscle, you may feel a popping sensation when the muscle tears.
Treatment includes RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Muscle pull commonly affects these muscles:
Ankle sprain. This is the stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often occurs when the foot twists or rolls inward. Sprains typically get better with rest, ice, compression, and elevating the foot.