If you log hundreds or even thousands of miles each year running, the repetitive impact tends to take a toll on muscles, joints, and connective tissues which means it’s no surprise that runners can develop a number of injuries. Of course, some are more common than others.
Runners are especially susceptible to the following injuries – if you suffer from anyone of them, going to sports injury physical therapy is arguably your best bet for a quick full recovery,
While it can affect other types of athletes, particularly those involved in sports that require jumping or running, the most common injury among runners, according to a 2015 review of studies, is runner’s knee, or patellofemoral syndrome. It refers to pain or tenderness in and/or around the kneecap.
If you have weak muscles around your knees or in your hips, you’re at greatest risk of developing it. It often starts with twinges on the inside or outside of the knee when you start out running but then feel fine throughout only to have it flare up after you’re finished, especially following prolonged sitting.
Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon that connects the major calf muscles to the back of the heel undergoes too much stress. The tendon gets irritated and tightens which leads to pain in the back of your foot. It tends to happen after increasing the intensity or running or your mileage too quickly.
If not treated, it increases the risk of a ruptured Achilles tendon which usually requires surgery. Some of the common symptoms include swelling along the tendon, dull pain just above your heel, and limited range of motion if you try to flex your foot toward your shin.
If you experience a dull pain in the front or inner parts of your lower legs along the shinbone that gets worse when you run, you may have shin splints. It can happen when you increase the length or number of your runs too quickly, especially if you run on hard surfaces.
This isn’t a serious injury – in most cases it goes away with rest. But if you continue to run without taking time off, a stress fracture is possible.
One of the most common foot injuries, plantar fasciitis involves degeneration or irritation of a thick layer of tissue on the bottom of your foot called fascia. It acts like a spring when you’re running (or walking). If your calves are weak or you increase running mileage too quickly, it can put the fascia under too much stress, leading to this condition.
The injury involves inflammation and small tears in the ligaments and tendons. Symptoms usually include pain under your midfoot or heel, often developing gradually, pain after prolonged activity and/or that’s worse in the morning, and a burning sensation on the bottom of the foot. You might feel a dull ache on your heel or along your arch.
Hamstring injuries are more prone to occur if your hamstrings are weak or tight. Distance runners don’t usually experience sudden hamstring tears but may develop strains that come on gradually, caused by repetitive small tears in the connective tissues and fibers of the muscle. It might feel tender and you may feel a dull pain in the back of your upper leg.