Most Common Running Injuries

Here is something to think about when you're thinking about running injuries. What has 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments and gets hammered with 3 to 4 times your weight every time you take a running stride? Obviously, it's your foot. Add in to this mix of bones, cartilage and muscle your ankles, legs, knees, hips, butt and back also getting hammered 15000 times every 10 miles, it starts to look like a miracle that we can run at all without suffering injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries come with running. Fortunately most of these injuries are preventable, and most only last a short time. With the proper strength training, stretching, training balance and shoes most running injuries can be avoided. What follows are links to some of the most common injuries and what to do when you get them and how to avoid them.

Also, be sure to check out the Injury page for an overview of soft tissue injuries and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles Tendon is the strongest tendon of the body, and able to withstand a 1000 pound force without tearing. Despite this, the Achilles ruptures more frequently than any other tendon because of the tremendous pressures placed on it during competitive sports.

Achilles Tendonitis (sometimes spelled tendinitis) is simply an inflammation of the tendon. It is one of the more common injuries for runners, and in most cases is caused by excessive training over an extended period of time.


Chondromalacia, or runner's knee, or simply just Knee Pain is a running injury where the articular cartilage, located underneath the kneecap (patella), starts to soften and break down. This cartilage is usually smooth and allows the knee joint to move freely as the knee bends. However, as chondromalacia worsens, the cartilage breaks down, causing irregularities and roughness on the undersurface of the patella, which leads to irritation and pain of the knee joint.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a common athletic injury of the foot. While runners are most likely to suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, any athlete whose sport involves intensive use of the feet may be vulnerable. The risk of this injury increases in athletes who have a particularly high arch, or uneven leg length, though improper biomechanics of the athlete’s gait and simple overuse tend to be the primary culprits.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Pain as a result of Iliotibial Band Syndrome can be extremely frustrating and it puts a big strain on both the knee and hip joints. As with other running injuries, this can be prevented and treated with relatively simple means.

These injuries are very common among runners and cyclists. However, they doesn't usually occur in an instant, like a hamstring strain or groin pull, but commonly starts off as a twinge or niggle, and progress quickly to a debilitating sports injury that can sideline the best of us for weeks. Go to the Iliotibial Band page for a description of treatment and prevention options.

Shin Splints

Shin splints is a term commonly used to describe most lower leg pain. However, shin splints are only one of several conditions that affect the lower leg. The most common causes of lower leg pain are: general shin soreness; shin splints; and stress fractures.

Although the term shin splints is often used to describe a variety of lower leg problems or running injuries, it actually refers specifically to a condition called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). Go to the Shin Splints page for prevention and treatment options.

Piriformis - A Big Pain in the Butt

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle becomes tight or spasms, and irritates the sciatic nerve. This causes pain in the buttocks region and may even result in referred pain in the lower back and thigh. Patients often complain of pain deep within the hip and buttocks, and for this reason, piriformis syndrome has also been referred to as "Deep Buttock" syndrome.

If you suffer from pirformis syndrome or are seeking to prevent its occurrence follow the link to the Piriformis Syndrome page.

Side Stitches

A side stitch, also known as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), is one of the most annoying and painful conditions suffered by participants of sport and exercise. Although not considered a true sports injury like the other running injuries outlined, it has been estimated that 70% of regular runners suffered from a side stitch in the last 12 months.

Discover the causes behind a Side Stitch , their treatment and prevention.

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