8 Common Running Injuries & How to Heal Them

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If you have been running for a substantial amount of time, then chances are you’ve come across one, or several of these injuries. We hope you don’t, but with any sport, there is always the risk of injury.

Often times, it’s how you respond to an injury in the first few days or week that matters most!

Keep in mind, we are not doctors and not a substitute for going to the doctor. There have been many times I’ve “thought” I had one injury only to be diagnosed with something completely different!

1) Shin splints

One of the most common injuries for new and old runners alike are shin splints! Shin splints are actually micro tears in the bone itself. If shin splints get severe, it can result in one of the most serious running injuries: a stress fracture.

Usually shin splints occur with more running and more impact on the body. More impact can occur with more running or because of lack of cushion in your shoe.

As someone who works in a running store, I can say the majority of people who come in with shin splints are in improper footwear! If you can bend your shoe, it’s not enough cushion.

How do you fix it?

The easiest way is rest. If you continue to run in improper footwear, you’ll only make shin splints worse. Make sure to wear the right shoes for you that have a lot of extra cushion. RICE — which is short for rest, ice, compression, and elevation — will help already occurring shin splints.

2) Plantar fasciitis

This could be the hardest injury to spell, say, and to get rid of. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot: The plantar fascia.

It’s usually caused by an increase of mileage or poor shoes. Adding hills, or extra speed is also a known cause.

How do you fix it?

It’s important to stretch out your calves and feet at the end of the day or run. Another important factor is wearing proper footwear all of the time, including inside on bare floors.

We highly recommend going to see a podiatrist who can make inserts and also rule out the plantar fascia is torn. If your plantar fasciitis has been occurring for months, most doctors recommend orthotic or sleeping in a night splint.

3) Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is the swelling of Achilles tendon that connects your leg and heel. Many factors can cause tendinitis including increasing mileage and improper footwear (changing the heel to toe drop in a shoe is a very common cause).

How do you fix it?

A few things you can do are analyze your shoes. Have you recently changed them? Is it an appropriate shoe for you?

Like plantar fasciitis, it is beneficial to wear proper and supportive shoes all of the time, until the pain goes away.

4) Runner’s knee

Runners’ knee is characterized by pain behind and around the kneecap. The technical term is patellofemoral pain syndrome but most commonly referred to as “runner’s knee.”

Typically it’s caused by the repetitive force of running on roads or even muscle imbalances.

How do you fix it?

Usually, doctors suggest a knee brace, cushioned and structured running shoes, and cutting back miles. Most running stores carry appropriate knee balances and tape to keep your knee in line.

5) Sprained ankle

A sprained ankle occurs when the ankle rolls either in or out and overstretches the ligament. Some common triggers are curbs and potholes. I once tried to outrun a goose chasing me, and sprained my ankle on a curb.

How do you fix it?

Depending on the degree of sprain, it might take more or less time. Most doctors recommend balancing exercises to strengthen the ankle. ART and Graston can help promote blood flow to the ankle and heal it quicker.

If a sprain is severe enough, many doctors will recommend a boot or soft case. Wearing supportive shoes will also help the healing process!

6) Pulled muscles

Pulled muscles can occur if a muscle is overstretched. There are many degrees of pulled muscles which cause the healing process to be anywhere from a few days to a few months. Some causes include overuse or running hard on cold muscles.

How do you fix it?

Rest and not overstretching is going to be the best way to fix pulled muscles. To prevent a pulled muscle or tear make sure to warm up and stay loose before a run or race.

7) Iliotibial band syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome or ITBS for short is due to the inflammation of the Iliotibial band. The IT band is not a muscle but actually a tendon that runs from your pelvis to your knee.

I personally experienced ITBS in 2011, and it was a pain I never want to relive. Increasing mileage, adding hills or weak hips (my cause) are all common ways to trigger ITBS.

How do you fix it?

Stretching and foam rolling can help and decrease inflammation. Personally, I had success with deep tissue massage and dry needling.

8) Stress fracture

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone caused by repeated stress. Stress fractures are broken bones. I’ve had a couple in my tibia, and 2nd metatarsal. If you have a stress fracture, you must rest, or it will not heal.

This is not an injury you can or should ever run through, and you should not try to. It’s one of the most severe injuries a runner can go through and it’s important to go to the doctor to get an X-ray or even an MRI.

How do you fix it?

This good news is, if you rest, most broken bones will heal. If you do not rest, your bones will not heal.

Running injuries will heal if you treat your body well. If you run through pain, you are setting yourself up for a more serious or severe injury.

Have you had a serious running injury? How did you get through it?

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

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