Running Injuries 101: Understanding the Five Most Common Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Running is a great way to stay in shape and improve your cardiovascular health, but it can also lead to injuries if you’re not careful. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the five most common running injuries and how to prevent them.

7 Deadly Running Training Errors That Many Runners Make & How You Can Avoid Them So You Can Continue Running The Mileage You Want. More 4 Life Physical Therapy, St. Louis MO

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common injury that is caused by overuse of the muscles in the lower leg. Symptoms include pain and tenderness along the side of the shinbone.

To prevent shin splints, it is important to gradually increase your mileage and to wear proper running shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is a term used to describe several different conditions that cause pain around the knee joints. It is often caused by overuse, improper form, or muscular imbalances.

To prevent a runner's knee, it is important to maintain proper form while running and to gradually increase your mileage. Strength training and weight lifting exercises that target the specific muscles in your legs can also help prevent this injury.

Plantar Fasciitis/Fasciopathy

It is a condition that causes pain in the heel or arch of the foot. This condition is often caused by overuse or wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support. To prevent it, wearing shoes that provide adequate support is important.

Additionally, an active warm-up pre-running and a cooldown must be performed post-tx running. An active warm-up for the leg muscles, especially the calf muscles, will help prepare the muscle for running. Then, stretching of the calf muscles for a cooldown will help decrease the post-exercise stiffness and lactic acid accumulation.

Achilles Tendinitis/Tendinopathy

It is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon, a structure that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The condition is caused by overuse or sudden increases in mileage. As a result, it is important to gradually increase your mileage to prevent this condition.

Similarly to plantar fasciopathy/fasciitis, an active warm-up and a post-activity cooldown are important. Furthermore, proper footwear and minimizing running on hard surfaces can also help prevent this injury.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

IT band syndrome is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the knee. The IT band is a long tendinous structure that connects a small hip flexor muscle to the side of the knee.

It is often caused by improper form, muscular imbalances, or sudden increases in mileage.

IT band syndrome occurs when the buttock muscles are not being effectively used, so the IT band has to compensate. This compensation occurs in runners with poor or inefficient running form.

Muscle imbalances are addressed by strength training exercises that target muscles, especially the gluteals, that help improve running mechanics.

Lastly, similar to the other conditions above, it is important to slowly progress the mileage or intensity of your running workouts. This allows your legs to properly adapt to the increased demands and stresses of running.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort while running, or if you’d like to learn more about preventing running injuries, a physical therapist can help.

Physical therapists can help you improve your running form and mechanics to prevent unnecessary stresses in areas that are painful. Improving your running form can also help increase your speed, distance, and prevent future injuries.

Physical therapists can teach you specific stretches and strengthening exercises to address the muscle imbalances that are present. By addressing these muscle imbalances, it can help improve your running mechanics and help prevent future injuries.

Lastly, physical therapists can also guide you on specific shoewear or any other foot support that you can use to prevent pain and allow you to continue running.

Request an Appointment at More 4 Life

If you're looking for a physical therapy clinic in St. Louis that can help you prevent running injuries or treat any running-related issues you're experiencing, More 4 Life physical therapy can help. You can contact us at 314-941-3970 to schedule an appointment.

Our team of experienced physical therapists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs, so you can get back to running as soon as possible.

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