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Common Running Injuries & Prevention Methods

pRunning is perhaps one of the most common fitness activities known to man. But with the seemingly simple workout comes the potential risk of suffering various types of injuries. These injuries tend to cause a substantial amount of discomfort. In addition, if not cared for properly, they can lead to severe damage to muscles and joints. The following is a list of tips and prevention methods for three of the most common running injuries.

1.Shin splints:Recognized as one of the most painful running injuries, shin splints happen as a result of small tears around the shin bone, otherwise known as the tibia. shin splints are usually a sign that too much stress is being but on the tibia.

Prevention: Because it makes up nearly 15% of all running injuries, millions of people have experienced the brutal pain of shin splints, however this is not an injury that should taken lightly. To avoid getting shin splints both medical and fitness professionals suggest that runners increase the mileage gradually rather than over a short period of time. A good rule of thumb is to not increase your running mileage by more than 10% within one week’s time. In addition, wearing the appropriate running shoe and stretching your calf muscles before running can also help prevent the onset of shin splints.

2. “Runner’s Knee”: “Runner’s knee”, commonly known as Patellofemoral pain syndrome or PFPS, makes up nearly 40% of all running injuries making it the most common running injury. PFPS is the result of severe irritation of the cartilage that rest in between the kneecap and the thigh bone. Like many other running injuries, the pain that is caused by “runner’s knee” can be extremely painful and sharp. Runners with PFPS often report an absence of pain when they are actively running, however the pain usually returns immediately after.

Prevention: While some cases of runner’s knee area caused by biological factors such as high arches, oversized knee caps, or weak cartilage, it can be prevented in other cases. To prevent the onset of runner’s knee, avoid participating in any activities that require bending your knees for long periods of time such as stair running, on running up hills. Performing exercises that are geared towards strengthening your quads and hamstrings is also a great way to prevent runner’s knee.

3. Achilles Tendinitis: “Runner’s knee” is also a common running injury centered around the calf muscles. It occurs when the tendon, a bone that acts as a link between the two primary calf muscles, tightens causing extreme irritation. Achilles Tendinitis can be caused by a number of different running activities but is most often triggered by speed running and running up steep hills which often puts too much stress on the calf muscles.

Prevention: Decreasing any physical activity that places vigorous tension on the calves is the most promising prevention method. This can be done by minimizing the mileage you run each day and well as spacing out running and workout sessions.

Most running injuries can be prevented, however be sure to contact one of our expert physical therapists here at RPI if you experience the onset of any of the injuries listed above, or any other running injuries. RPI offers a variation of treatment options for running and physical fitness injuries, along with maintenance and prevention education. For more information, give us a call today at 314-991-1978.