Common Running Injuries


The classic sign of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is pain in the outside of the knee that gets progressively worse during a run. The IT Band is a thick tendon that runs the length of your thigh and inserts on the outside of your knee. It’s primary function is to help slow movement and torque at your knee during impact, but this repetitive trauma can sometimes cause tendonitis and severe pain. Specific causes are difficult to pinpoint, but some factors may include excessive increase in running mileage, overpronation, bow-legs, and muscles imbalances to name a few.

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Typically described as a sharp, radiating pain along the shin bone (tibia) that occurs while running. Causes can vary, but are often linked to running in the wrong type of shoe, not having enough arch support, or overpronation. Getting properly fitted for running shoes is often the best solution, but routine ice massages, compression, and kinesiotape are also successful in reducing symptoms.

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Briefly described as the strain and tearing of the plantar fascia at the heel, plantar fasciitis is a common cause for foot and heel pain in runners. Pain is usually focused in the arch/heel area and is most prevalent in the morning when getting out of bed. The plantar fascia provides the longitudinal arch with dynamic support and helps to dissipate shock on heel strike and forefoot loading. With overuse and improper arch support, the fascia can tear and strain. It will typically heal on its own, but continued use (by impatient runners) will only drag out the healing process. Early recognition and treatment are the best defense against plantar fasciitis. Some simple things that runners can do are ice massages (with a frozen water bottle), LIGHT stretching of the calf and fascia (very easy and very slow), wearing a night splint, and the use of orthotics.

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Pain where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone and progressively gets worse with speed or distance is often diagnosed as Achilles Tendonitis. This can be the result of tight calf muscles, high arches, or simply doing excessive speed/hill workouts. Trying to alleviate the pain can be a difficult task if one wants to continue running. Though heel lifts do provide the runner with some relief, proper stretches and exercises are the best way to combat the issue. Achilles eccentrics or “negatives” are a great way to strengthen the achilles and prevent further injury.

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