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Running Injuries Explained

Posted on February 28th 2018 by

Running Injuries Explained

Running injuries is always a big subject, so in this blog I will talk about what are the most common injuries, what they mean and what you can do to prevent or help yourself should you find yourself affected by any of them

It's worth bearing in mind that it is not only new runners that can suffer but also experienced runners too. Most injuries that affect runners are called overuse injuries, which means that they come on over a period of time

The subject of injuries is wide ranging and complicated and I could write pages, but in this blog I will give you an overview on each, what it is and what signs to look out for

So here we go...

Plantar Fasciitis

This injury occurs when the plantar fascia on the base of the foot becomes inflamed. It is characterised by sharp pain in the heel but often can the whole arch area and often is at its most painful first thing in the morning

Runner's Knee

Runner’s knee is the most common injury among runners and it causes a constant ache. It tends to affect more women than men mainly becuase women are built slightly differently to men. The ache is often just below the knee cap and worsens the further you run

Achilles Tendinopathy

The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Achilles tendinopathy can give you a sharp pain or a dull ache either near to the heel or further up towards your calf muscle. You may notice some swelling around the tendon itself

IT Band Syndrome

Your iliotibial band is a tendon that connects your hip and your knee. You often get a sharp pain at the side of your knee which occurs when you run. You may also get an ache by the hip joint or at various points along your outer thigh

Shin Splints

Shin splints is the common name for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome and this affects the muscle and tibia too. The muscles around the shin can be come inflamed and gives you a sharp pain or an ache. The pain often decreases as you get in to a run and it is often worse down hill due to the impact. If left untreated shin splints can turn in to stress fractures of the tibia

Piriformis Syndrome

This is the pain in your butt injury!  It is a muscular injury that affects your bottom and sometimes your hip. The piriformis muscle runs from the base of your spine and connects at your hip bone. This injury gives you and ache in your bottom and often worsens after running. It sometimes gets confused with Sciatica due to the Sciatic nerve running beneath or through the Piriformis muscle


As I mentioned above, all the injuries I have talked about are generally overuse injuries and therefore will likely get worse over time. So what can lead to these injuries? Well, increasing your mileage too quickly is a leading cause of running injuries and it is recommend that you increase your mileage by around 10% a week

Additionally, your trainers can cause an injury, not just old trainers but new trainers can also create these problems too. Also, if running is your only form of exercise this can sometimes bring on an injury

As soon as you feel a niggle and you feel it on more than 4 runs, I suggest you seek professional advice. If treated early, most of these injuries will not require a prolonged break from running

The good news is there a few things that you can do to lessen the chance of suffering one of these overuse injuries. The first thing I recommend is to do some form of strength training twice a week, this could be in the gym or maybe a Kettlebell or Bodypump class. Cross training is very important as most people cannot just run and stay injury free. Cycling or a Studio Cycling class, swimming or yoga, Bodybalance or Pilates and walking are great ways to work the body in different way

Lastly keep an eye on your trainers!  Every so often have a look at the tread and see if its wearing out. We runners will always think that we recently bought the trainers when in fact we bought them a few years ago!  A good trick is to write in your diary when you bought the trainers so you know exactly how old they are

So, I hope you now have some knowledge about the most common injuries to affect runners and how to spot them. Just pay attention to your body and notice any aches or pains that are becoming a regular occurrence. Most of these injuries if treated early won't hinder your running for too long and so you can continue to run and be injury free!

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