Running is a popular form of exercise that can help maintain physical fitness, relieve stress, and provide a sense of accomplishment. However, it’s not without its risks. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common running injuries and offer guidance on how to prevent them. Here are some of the most up-to-date research-based tips to prevent running injuries:
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) or Shin Splints
MTSS is a common overuse injury that causes pain on the inside of the shin. It typically occurs in runners and other athletes that are exposed to intensive weight-bearing activities such as jumpers. To avoid shin splints, ensure you have the right shoes and gradually increase your mileage. Incorporating calf and shin strengthening exercises can also help12.
- Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)
Runner’s knee is a widespread injury, often caused by the repetitive motion of running. It’s characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap. To prevent it, make sure your shoes are properly fitted, vary your running surfaces, and incorporate strength training exercises for your gluteal and quadriceps muscles 34.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by heel pain, particularly during the first steps in the morning. This injury occurs due to inflammation of the plantar fascia. To prevent it, wear supportive shoes, stretch your calves, Achilles tendons, and plantar fascia regularly, and consider using orthotic insoles 5.
- Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. To steer clear of this injury, warm up properly before running, avoid overtraining, and strengthen your calf muscles through exercises eccentric heel drops 6 .
- IT Band Syndrome
IT band syndrome can result in pain on the outside of the knee. To prevent this, include strength training for the gluteus and TFL, and ensure you don’t increase your mileage too quickly 7.
- Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone and can occur in various places, such as the shin, foot, or hip. To prevent these painful injuries, it’s crucial to avoid overtraining and ensure you’re getting adequate rest and nutrition 8.
Incorporating a short mat Pilates class into your running routine can also help strengthen the muscle important for running, improve posture, and enhance overall body awareness, which can contribute to better running form and reduce the risk of injuries. In summary, understanding the common running injuries and taking preventive measures is essential for any runner. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just lacing up your running shoes for the first time, these injury prevention strategies can help you enjoy a lifetime of injury-free running.
- Treatment and Prevention of Shin Splints https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2009/10000/treatment_and_prevention_of_shin_splints.6.aspx
- Medial tibial stress syndrome: conservative treatment options https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848339/
- National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208300/
- Clinical Biomechanics of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome https://www.physio-pedia.com/Clinical_Biomechanics_of_Patellofemoral_Pain_Syndrome?utm_source=physiopedia&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=ongoing_internal
- A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews on the Epidemiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8705263/
- Achilles Tendon Stretches and Strength Exercises https://www.healthline.com/health/achilles-tendon-stretch
- The Iliotibial Band: A Complex Structure with Versatile Functions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9023415/
- Vitamin D and Stress Fractures in Sport: Preventive and Therapeutic Measures—A Narrative Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999420/