At some point or another during your running career, you will likely have an injury. Here are some common running injuries that you should know.
Shin Splints – This pain occurs in the front of your lower leg along the shin bone.
Shin splints are a common injury for new runners. This injury happens when you change the type of running workout or increase mileage too fast. If you ignore the pain of shin splints for too long it could cause a stress fracture. You might also check to see if you have the correct shoes.
Stress Fracture – A tiny crack or fracture in a bone. Common fractures occur in your feet, shins and heels. Stress fractures happen because of continued strain on the bone. This injury takes time to heal. Expect to take about 3-4 months off from running for the bone to heal.
Runners Knee – The cartilage around your kneecap wears down due to overuse. Runner's knee occurs during long runs or while running downhill. To prevent runner's knee, work on your running form, strides and strengthen your knee muscles.
Achilles Tendonitis – The large tendon that connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel. Achilles tendonitis happens when you drastically increase your training and put too much stress on the tendon. This injury will require rest and icing. To prevent further injury work on your calf stretches.
Plantar Fasciitis – Small tears or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments along the bottom of your foot extending from the heel to your toes. Usually effects runners with very high or very low arches. Staying off your feet helps to heal this injury. Try swimming or cycling for a few weeks. Also, make sure you have supportive footwear.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome – Your iliotibial band or IT band is the ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to your knee. This injury occurs when the ligament rubs your knee bone and causes inflammation. If you feel pain, take a few days off then decrease your mileage and intensity for a few weeks. Heating the area and stretching out your hip flexors also help.
Pulled Muscles – Common pulled muscles include hamstrings, quadriceps and groin. To recover from pulled muscles, you’ll want to rest, ice, compress and elevate.
Blisters – Blisters can be caused by the friction between your shoes and socks, new shoes or sweaty feet. Again, the best way to prevent blisters is by wearing proper footwear. Make sure your shoes are a good fit for you and wear breathable, sweat-wicking socks. You could also try using a powder or tape to prevent blisters.
Tips for Injuries
Do a warm-up, cool down and stretch – Warming up helps to loosen your muscles. Cooling down helps to prevent lactic acid. Stretching helps to prevent injuries. Read our post How to Stretch Out Those Muscles post for tips.
Don’t ignore pain – Don’t run through the pain. Often times it means that something is wrong. You could make the injury worse by continuing to push through the pain.
Do rest – Overworking your body leads to injuries. So, take a day of rest at least once a week. If you’re dealing with an injury that keeps you from running try an alternative workout like biking or swimming.
Do visit the doctor – If your pain stays consistent, continues or increases then make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to give you further instructions for taking care of the injury.
RunnersWorld explains how to avoid common running injuries and how to recover from them.
Monica, a former Center Grove High School runner, participates in 5K, 10K and other races.