5 Common Running Injuries (and How To Prevent Them)

If you are a seasoned runner, you have likely suffered from at least one common running injury. And if you are just starting out in this sport, you might be at risk for experiencing one of these injuries in the future.

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From shin splints to achilles tendonitis, find out 5 common running injuries

What matters is  knowing how to prevent these issues in the first place and who to approach for treatment if you do suffer one of these injuries.


1. Achilles Tendinitis 

Achilles tendinitis occurs when you suddenly start using your Achilles tendon too much. According to the Mayo Clinic, this injury often shows up in runners and other athletes who increase the intensity of workouts too fast.

If you suspect you have this injury, you should let your family doctor know. He or she can examine your tendon and determine if it is serious enough that you need to get further treatment from a sports medicine specialist or even an orthopedic surgeon.

To prevent this common running injury, make sure to gradually increase your physical activity. Stretching and strengthening your calf muscles can also help when it comes to prevention. In addition, try buying shoes with firm support for the arch and good cushioning for the heel.


2. IT Band Syndrome 

Iliotibial Band Syndrome, which is commonly called IT Band Syndrome, is another overuse injury among runners. It involves the iliotibial band, a ligament that attaches to the knee to provide stability. When this area becomes inflamed, moving the knee becomes painful, making it nearly impossible for you to run.

You should see your regular doctor if you think you have this running injury. Most doctors suggest plenty of rest, ice, cold compresses, and elevation, in addition to anti-inflammatory medications. If these treatments do not work, you may need to see a physical therapist or possibly an orthopedic surgeon.

According to MedicineNet, you can prevent this syndrome by making sure to stretch and also complete a warm-up walk before every run. In addition, you should occasionally change the direction you are running if you are using a track. That way, you won’t cause one knee to frequently turn in as you run, which can cause this injury.


3. Morton’s Neuroma 

Morton’s neuroma is an area of thick, swollen tissue near a nerve in the ball of the foot. This injury might cause you to feel like you are standing on a small rock, and not surprisingly, it usually burns or even makes the toes go numb. It is often caused by shoes that are too narrow.

Your family doctor can determine if you have Morton’s neuroma. This usually involves a quick exam during which the doctor feels the area or obtains x-rays to rule out other issues. Typical treatments include cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications, and larger shoes. If these options do not work, you might need an orthopedic surgeon to remove the growth.

The main way to prevent this injury is to wear shoes that fit well. In addition, try to minimize the use of high-heeled shoes when you are not running.


4. Plantar Fasciitis 

The plantar fascia is a ligament connecting the toes to the heel of your foot, and it is there to provide arch support. When this area gets strained, it is called Plantar Fasciitis. If the bottom of your foot near your heel hurts, especially in the morning and after exercise, you might have this injury.

You can let your regular doctor know your symptoms, and he or she will complete an exam and possibly order x-rays. In most cases, treatment is rest, daily stretches, and custom inserts for your shoes. You might also need to see a physical therapist during your treatment plan. Very few people need surgery for Plantar Fasciitis, but those who do usually see an orthopedic surgeon.

Prevent this injury by stretching your Achilles tendon and wearing shoes with good arch support. In addition, try activities that are not too hard on your heels, since running too often can lead to this injury.


5. Shin Splints

Of course, this is among the most well-known running injuries. It involves pain in the shins after running more than usual. The cause of the pain is swelling in the tendons, tissue, and muscles around the shin bone.

Home care involves using cold compresses and resting your legs for at least a couple of weeks. But if you want an official diagnosis, your regular doctor can rule out stress fractures.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prevention of shin splints starts with having supportive shoes and using arch supports for flat feet. In addition, mix up your running routine with strength training, stretches, and activities that do not put much pressure on your shins.