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10 Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

Running injuries usually happen when you push yourself too hard. The way your body moves also plays a role.

You can prevent many of them. Here's how.

1. Runner's knee. This is a common overuse injury. Runner's knee has several different causes. It often happens when your kneecap is out of alignment.

Over time, the cartilage on your kneecap can wear down. When that happens, you may feel pain around the kneecap, particularly when:

  • Going up or down stairs
  • Squatting
  • Sitting with the knee bent for a long time

2. 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's often due to working 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.

3. Shin splint. This is pain that happens in the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints are common after changing your workout, 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.

Treatment includes:

  • Rest
  • Stretching exercises
  • Slow return to activity after several weeks of healing

4. 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. Adding too much distance to  your running routine can cause it. Tight calf muscles can also contribute.

Treatment includes:

  • Rest
  • Icing the area
  • Calf stretches

5. Muscle pull. This is a small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain. It's often caused by overstretching a muscle. If you pull a 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:

  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Calf
  • Groin

6. Ankle sprain. This is the accidental stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often happens when the foot twists or rolls inward. 

Sprains typically get better with rest, ice, compression, and elevating the foot.

7. Plantar fasciitis. An inflammation of the plantar fascia. That's the thick band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes.

People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Although it may be linked to adding activity, plantar fasciitis can also happen without any obvious reason.

WebMD Medical Reference

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