What Are the Most Common Running Injuries?

by AZ Pain Doctors, on Mar 4, 2021 1:00:00 PM

Is your run starting to get a little painful? Fatigue and burning muscles are all something runners get used to, but once in a while, unwanted pain can creep in. Ignoring these problems can result in more serious complications, so you need to know how to deal with them as soon as they occur. 

Part of that process is identifying what the problem is. Below, we give our must-know guide to the most common running injuries. 

Achilles Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an irritation or inflammation of the tendon. The tendon is a thick cord that attaches muscle to the bone. They are prevalent at numerous locations in the human body, such as the wrists, shoulders, and knees. 

Many problems that you have probably heard of are actually caused by tendinitis. These include tennis elbow and jumpers knee. The condition causes tenderness and pain in the inflamed area.

Achilles Tendinitis results from irritation or inflammation in the tendon that connects the calf muscle and heel. It can occur through overexertion. This may include increases in distance or intensity without a properly managed build-up.

Symptoms can include pain just above the heel, swelling along the tendon, a warm feeling, or a limited range of movement in the foot and ankle. If the problem is ignored it can rupture. Tearing the tendon is a serious problem that requires surgery. 

Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runners Knee)

Runners knee can affect athletes from a number of disciplines but tends to afflict people who do a lot of running in their sport. Running and jumping create an impact upon the knees, particularly when running over long distances. This results in pain in and around the front of the kneecap known as patellofemoral syndrome.

There are a number of factors that can cause runners' knee. Very often, these are down to your own physiology and how you run. If you have weakness in the muscles around your knees, hips, or any deterioration of the cartilage, you have a higher risk of developing it. 

Pain that is caused by a runner's knee can range from mild discomfort to unbearable. It can impact one or both knees and is felt more when walking, jumping, or using stairs. It can increase if you have periods of sitting and becomes stiff as you try to move it again. 

The runner's knee should not be ignored, as it may result in cracking or popping sounds. You should book an appointment with a doctor, who may recommend physiotherapy or an X-ray to rule out further problems. It is a very common ailment that impacts around 57% of runners.

Plantar Fasciitis

When the thick layer of tissue on the bottom of your foot, named fascia, takes damage, it is known as Plantar Fasciitis. This damage involves small tears and pulls in the intricate ligaments and tendons. You will feel it as bruising or an ache along the arch of your foot. 

The tissue is important as it acts as a system of springs and cushioning in the body. Without it, any impact from running and walking will cause serious problems. Imagine it like a car without any tires or suspension, creating a bumpy ride for the passengers. 

Increasing the distance and frequency of runs in a short period of time can cause this problem. Any problems that may impact your calves, such as weakness, tightness, or pulls, can also transfer to the foot and cause Plantar Fasciitis. 

Common symptoms include a gradually developing pain in the arch or heel. This manifests as a burning sensation, that is often worse in the morning or after exercise. 

Common Running Injuries in the Hamstring

The hamstring is the group of muscles at the back of your thing. They help push you forward when running and decelerate the lower leg during movement. Warming up the hamstring before running is essential, as injuries to it can cause serious problems with flexibility, movement, and strength. 

Long-distance runners are less likely to suffer from tears to the hamstring. Instead, they may feel strains caused by numerous small tears in the muscle tissues and connecting fibers. These problems can take a long time to heal and can reoccur quite often if the correct measures, such as physiotherapy, are not taken. 

Hamstring injuries manifest as a muscle area that is weak, stiff, and tender to touch. You will have a tight pain in the back of the upper leg. 

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)

Shin splints occur when the muscle around your shin bones begins to tear. The pain will appear in the front, or inner parts of the lower leg. They tend to occur when the distance or volume of running is increased suddenly, particularly if the runner is using hard surfaces such as roads and sidewalks. 

You may experience some mild swelling from shin splints. The area could be tender to touch and the pain may increase during exercise. Luckily, shin splints are not serious and by cutting back on running and giving adequate rest, they should go. 

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is the most serious of all running injuries. It is caused by the gradual impact of running on the heel, lower leg, and foot. This begins to form a hairline fracture in the bone that gets worse over time. 

If you feel a pain in these areas that starts off almost imperceptible then increases over time, it could be a stress fracture. You may get inflammation, tenderness and some bruising in the area the pain emanates from.

It is advised that you see a doctor right away if you suspect you have a stress fracture and cease exercise. They will perform an X-Ray and you may have to wear a cast or use crutches for six weeks as part of the healing process. 

Pain Management

All of these common running injuries can cause setbacks, but when managed properly should not take too much time from your schedule. While some may be more serious than others, the most important factor is getting rid of the pain so you can continue to exercise.

AZ Pain Doctors can treat a number of conditions, including those brought on by running. We have experienced, expert staff on hand to help with your injuries. Contact us for a quote today so we can get you back to your personal best!

Topics:common running injuries