What are the three common running injuries?

What are the three common running injuries?

October 27, 2023

What are the three common running injuries?

Back on Track Physical Therapy

What are the three common running injuries

Shin Splints, Stress Fractures and Plantar Fasciitis

Running can be a great way to stay fit and improve your health, but it also puts you at risk for injuries. The most frequent are shin splints, stress fractures and plantar fasciitis. Overuse injuries are commonly the result of increasing your mileage too quickly, not giving the body enough time for recovery, or having tight or weak muscles. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, consider seeking physical therapy or sports rehabilitation from a professional.

Stress fracture

Stress fractures are breaks in bones, usually found in the lower leg and foot, caused when an alteration in activity causes normal pressure on your bones to exceed what osteoclastic force (the pressure created by your body to resorb stress) can bear. Over-pressure can occur from increasing an activity’s intensity too rapidly, changing surfaces or using inadequate equipment. Other risk factors include any anatomical abnormalities like bunions and blisters on your feet, muscle weakness, imbalances or poor flexibility. If you’re experiencing foot and ankle pain, it’s important to address the issue before it worsens.

Female athletes are especially vulnerable to stress fractures due to the female athlete triad, which includes lower bone density and hormonal changes associated with menstruation. Furthermore, those who have osteoporosis or other medical conditions that weaken bones may be even more at risk.

Stress fracture symptoms typically begin as sharp, shooting pain that gets worse at the start of an activity and improves during training or rest. Runners who continue running despite this discomfort may develop chronic symptoms that require medical intervention for treatment.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain at the bottom of your heel or arch. It occurs when your plantar fascia becomes inflamed from excessive pressure or damage. A plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue running from your heel to your toes, designed to absorb shock when you walk and support the arch of your foot.

People with high arches, flat feet or overpronation (rolling inward on the arches when running or walking) have an increased chance of developing plantar fasciitis. Symptoms typically begin as stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot near the heel, which may be more intense when you first wake up in the morning or after standing for extended periods.

Hamstring strain

Hamstring strain, also known as a pulled hamstring, occurs when one or more of the three muscles that run down the back of the leg (biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus) gets stretched too far. It may be mildly painful or completely tear away at its origin causing intense discomfort and restricted movement.

Hamstring strains can be divided into three grades according to the number of muscle fibers injured. Grade 1 injuries are mild and cause a twitch or jerk when you push off or stretch your leg. Grade two injuries are more serious than their grade one counterparts, characterized by intense, immediate pain that worsens with movement of the muscle. Often, individuals are unable to walk without experiencing excruciating leg pain and may have visible bruising on the back of their leg.

Hamstring strains typically heal with rest, ice, compression and elevation. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain or weakness, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider or visit a physical therapy clinic for professional help.

Runner’s knee

Nearly 40% of running injuries involve the knee. The most frequent is runner’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). This condition is typically caused by misalignment of the knee joint, which can be due to injury or leg length differences. When this happens, the kneecap or kneecaps may rub against each other unnecessarily and wear down its cartilage.

Another condition, known as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), can cause knee pain and inflammation. Symptoms include a tight feeling on the outer side of the thigh, stiffness in one limb, and an urge to shift weight away from that leg.

Running knee is typically treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medications. However, if the pain or swelling does not improve with treatment, it’s time to see a doctor. A physical therapist can suggest safe exercises that can reduce symptoms and promote overall knee health. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for professional guidance and support.

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