How To Avoid & Treat the Five Most Common Running Injuries

I can run and get away with it. No big deal. And this little snowball is slowly in the shadows building up.

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, and for good reason. It’s an effective way to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and improve overall fitness. But as with any physical activity, running can also lead to injuries if you don’t take proper precautions. In this blog post and podcast, Lee Pattillo from Vitalee PT and Daphne Kirkwood with iDaph Events are going to discuss the most common running injuries Lee has seen over the last six months to a year and how you can avoid and treat them so that you can keep on enjoying all the benefits of running!


How to avoid and treat the five most common running injuries

No matter how experienced of a runner you are, chances are you will suffer from at least one running injury in your lifetime. But don’t worry, most common running injuries are relatively easy to treat. In this blog post, we’ll go over the most common running injuries and how to treat them so you can get back on the road (or trail) as soon as possible!


Injury #1: Anterior Knee Pain: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, commonly referred to as ‘runner’s knee’, is a pervasive condition that affects active people of all ages and abilities. Thankfully, this common injury doesn’t have to slow down your fitness plans. While it can be painful and maybe even a bit uncomfortable at times, with the proper treatment and preventive strategies you can say goodbye to runner’s knee for good! Treatment plans typically involve rest, physical therapy and in some cases lifestyle changes such as changing running routes or varying one’s fitness routines. 

Injury #2: Lateral Knee Pain: Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS)

Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS) can be a real pain in the knee, but it is important to remember that there is help available. ITBFS is a common injury among runners and cyclists, caused by inflammation of the iliotibial band which runs along the outer side of the thigh and knee. Fortunately, this issue is treatable, and many different methods have been used with success including stretching and foam rolling to reduce tension in the area. Physical therapy exercises such as squats, lunges, single leg bridges and straight leg raises have also been found to be quite effective. Strengthening your core can be beneficial too as a strong core can help bring your hips into better alignment with your pelvis and legs. Don’t let ITBFS sideline you - there are plenty of options you can investigate to get back on track!

Injury #3: Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common but totally treatable type of injury. It occurs when the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone becomes inflamed due to overuse or trauma. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can treat your Achilles tendonitis! Stretching and strengthening exercises can help build muscle around the affected area, and cold compression therapy can reduce inflammation and speed up healing. Bottom line: Don’t ignore those niggles; take some proactive steps today.

Injury #4 Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common and sometimes painful condition that affects the heel bone of your foot. In order to prevent and treat this type of injury, it’s important to have an understanding of the underlying causes. Plantar fasciitis is often the result of overuse or repetitive stress on the tissue around the heel bone, which can lead to inflammation and swelling. By noticing early signs and symptoms, such as sharp pain when walking, fatigue in your foot and/or ankle area after exercise, you can take steps to reduce further complications. These might include wearing supportive shoes with good cushioning, stretching your feet and legs, taking regular breaks during physical activity, avoiding going barefoot and icing your heels regularly. With care, attention and simple lifestyle changes you can help keep plantar fasciitis under control, so you can remain active in all areas of life.

Injury #5 Shin splints

Shin splints can happen to anyone, whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior. Even if you don’t identify as an athlete, it’s important to be aware of shin splints so that you can avoid injury and continue to stay active. By stretching before any activity and wearing proper footwear, you are already taking steps towards preventing shin splints. Additionally, vary your workout routine and incorporate rest days in order to give your body the recovery time it needs. Being mindful of your physical activity is key for maintaining healthy shins—and healthy habits will go a long way!

Determine the Root Cause

If you’ve been plagued by any of these running injuries, don’t despair. With the proper treatment and prevention methods, you’ll be back on the trails or roads in no time. And remember, be sure to check in with a physical therapist for a proper evaluation to determine the root cause of your injury. The key is to break the acute pain cycle and to provide tips and exercises to get you on your way to recovery. 

These are just a few of the most common running injuries, but there are many others that may occur if you don’t take proper precautions. As with any physical activity, it’s important to listen to your body and be mindful of any pain or discomfort you experience while running. Taking proper measures such as strength training and cross training can help prevent injury and keep you on the road (or trail) for longer!  

Questions? Feel free to reach out to Lee with Vitalee PT at vitaleept.com.