SEVEN Most Common Injuries

THE SEVEN MOST COMMON RUNNING INJURIES                                                

Running is a sport of passion and determination; why else would we torture our bodies with miles of punishment every day? Running injuries are an unfortunate, but all too common, occurrence often affecting the hips, knees, ankles, and feet.  Understanding a running injury is the key to effective treatment.

There are common warning signs that should be recognised to indicate a potential injury. While some sports injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you do not pay attention to either types of injuries, chronic ongoing problems can develop.

Joint Pain, Tenderness at a specific point, Swelling, Reduced range of motion, Comparative weakness, Numbness and Tingling can all be warning signs of an underlying pathology.


  1. 1.    Iliotibial Band Syndrome ( ITB)muscle

The iliotibial band is a strong thick, fibrous band that runs along the outside of the leg that spans from the hip to the shin; it lends stability to the knee joint during movement, and is attached to muscles of the thigh. ITBS is caused when the band becomes shortened and tight causing inflammation and tenderness. It is a common running injury among long distance runners

Symptoms:  Sharp burning pain on the outside (lateral) aspect of knee. Pain sets in at about the same distance/time on each run.  It can be worse on downhills, on cambered surfaces, walking up or downstairs, or getting up from a seated position.


2. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)knee

Also known as “Runner’s Knee,” PFPS is a broad term used to describe problems associated with the kneecap and is common in runners. It is caused by a combination of many different factors most of which are biomechanical.  Increased body mass, training errors, muscle imbalances (flexibility to strength ratio) and inadequate footwear all play a role.  

Symptoms: Tenderness behind, under or around the knee cap. The pain tends to worsen with activity, while descending stairs and after long periods of inactivity.  You may feel or hear grinding or that the knee is giving way. Steps, hills, and uneven terrain can aggravate PFPS.  Pain may occur in one or both knees.


3.Shin Splintsankle front
Shin splints, like runner’s knee, is a vague term that describes a set of symptoms, not an actual diagnosis. Pain in the shin can be due to problems with the muscles, bone, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone, known as Medial tibial traction Periostitis, Chronic exertional compartment Syndrome or Stress Fracture of the Tibia.  It is important to see a professional to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.


4. Achilles Tendinopathyankle
Achilles tendinopathy is a painful condition of the tendon at the back of the ankle (Achilles tendon). It joins the gastrocnemius (calf) and the soleus muscles of the lower leg to heel of the foot.  It is an overuse injury causing degeneration of the tendon and if left untreated, Achilles tendinopathy can lead to an increased risk of Achilles tendon rupture. This may be due to inflexible calf muscles, increase in activity and decrease in recovery time between training sessions, poor footwear, change of surface or calf weakness.

Symptoms: sudden, gradual but noticeable onset of pain, maybe minimal, moderate or severe, may range from a minor inconvenience to profound pain.


5. Plantar Fasciitisfoot

The Plantar Fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue at the bottom of the foot which runs from the heel to the base of the toes.  It provides static support for the longitudinal arch and dynamic shock absorption.  Plantar fasciitis is an overuse condition. Tightness in the fascia in the arch, calf tightness, supination or pronation, high arches, incorrect shoes are all contributing factors.

Symptoms: gradual onset and classically felt on medial (inner) aspect of the heel as well as in the arch of the foot. Pain is worse in morning and beginning of a run and when weight bearing.


6. Hamstring Tears (strains) buttox

The hamstring muscles run down the back of the leg from the pelvis to the bones of the lower leg, there are three specific muscles that make up the hamstrings. An injury to any of these muscles can range from minor strains, a pulled muscle or even a total rupture of the muscle. Some of the factors which may contribute to a hamstring injury includes: Doing too much, too soon or pushing beyond your limits, Poor flexibility, Poor muscle strength, Improper or no warm-up, previous hamstring injury, there is also an increase in incidence with increasing age.

 Symptoms: a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh that may stop you mid-stride. After such an injury, the knee may not straighten fully without intense pain.


7. Ankle Sprainsfoot front

Ankle sprains are the most common of all ankle injuries.  It occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. The numerous ligaments around the ankle can become pulled and torn when the ankle is forced into a position not normally encountered. A lateral (outer ankle) ligament injury is the most common.

Symptoms: Occasionally a loud “snap” or “pop” is heard at the time of the sprain. This is usually followed by pain and rapid swelling of the ankle. 

Medical treatment of the seven most common running injuries: 

Your first line of action is to stop all activity and seek a professional trained in this field (Sports Doctor, Physiotherapist, podiatrist and Biokineticist) 

Sports Doctor:  for thorough evaluation and diagnosis, pain management.

Physiotherapist: for diagnosis of condition, specific release of muscles, strapping, inflammation management, pain management, and first stage rehabilitation. 

Podiatrist:  for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation, supination and biomechanical abnormalities in the foot.

Biokineticist: For diagnosis of condition, specific sports injury prevention and rehabilitation programs.  Stretching, strengthening, muscle imbalance correction, endurance and sprint training advice, correction of biomechanics, correct training and recovery advice, prevention of re injury, and alternative training options if needed.

Runners don’t want to stop running, and the good news is that if you seek treatment early enough you can often continue your training while you participate in specific rehabilitation treatment with a professional.


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