How to Prevent the Most Common Running Injuries

Make no bones about it (or muscles or tendons): If you start running, there’s a considerable probability that you’ll get hurt. According to some estimates, at least 50% of runners suffer injuries annually. Before you join the track team, they don’t tell you that.

Applying force repeatedly over an extended period of time results in overuse injuries most of the time. No of your experience level, abrupt changes in training volume might be harmful.

Following are some of the most typical running-related illnesses and injuries, along with some pain relief techniques.

Running Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, often known as runner’s knee, is typically indicated by sensitivity and pain near or behind the kneecap. (Yep, this illness is so prevalent among runners that it was given their name.)

Your kneecap may experience additional stress due to repetitive force, downhill running, muscular imbalances, and weak hips. Stick to flat or uphill terrain, and whenever possible, choose softer running surfaces.

Experts advise using anti-inflammatory drugs, reducing mileage, and temporarily taping your knee or wearing a knee brace to relieve pain. This persistent knee discomfort can also be avoided and treated with physical treatment.

Syndrome of the iliotibial band (ITBS)

Take note, distance runners: This injury is not a friend. The Iliotibial band, a thick tendon that extends from your pelvic bone all the way down your thigh, becomes inflamed and causes pain on the outside of the knee in those with ITBS.

Increased miles (half-marathon preparation, anyone? ), downhill running, and weak hips are typical offenders. Give those muscles extra attention to lessen the pain. Combining certain stretches with foam rolling may help to alleviate discomfort and inflammation. ​

According to a 2020 study, improving hip strength may help reduce symptoms.

Jordan’s knee (patellar tendinitis)

This condition, often known as “jumper’s knee,” affects distance runners frequently. The patellar tendon, which links the kneecap to the shinbone, can become inflamed due to misuse (are you feeling a pattern here?) and small rips.

The most likely causes include overpronation, overtraining, and a high volume of hill repetitions. You can strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps (at home or in the gym) and apply ice to your knee at the first sign of discomfort to lower your risk of developing patellar tendinitis.

To assist calm and strengthen the tendon, medical professionals also advise rest and physical treatment.

Tendinitis of the ankle

Swelling in the Achilles tendon, which connects your heel to your lower leg muscles, can be caused by a variety of tricky variables, including having naturally flat feet or rapidly increasing your distance.

Always stretch your calf muscles after working out, and wear supportive shoes, to help prevent bothersome pain.

Also, take it easy when ascending hills because it puts additional strain on your tendons. The greatest approaches to resume your recuperation include anti-inflammatories, stretching, and the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

Sprained ankles

When your ankle rolls inward or outward, the ligament is stretched, resulting in a sprain (and causing some serious pain). Some of the culprits are curbs, potholes, tree branches, and just poor landings.

Although recovery could initially be a little unsteady, many experts advise performing balancing exercises to strengthen the muscles in and around your ankle, such as single-leg squats.

After the sprain, stick to some serious rest; the length of time depends on the severity of the sprain; see a healthcare professional for a more detailed game plan. When you’re ready to return to activity, they could also advise using an ankle brace, air cast, or taping it up to prevent re-twisting.

Foot injuries that hurt like hell

The tissue on the bottom of your foot, the plantar fascia, can become inflamed, irritated, or torn, causing discomfort.

Flip-flops or excessive pavement pounding may be at blame for this, which can cause significant stiffness or a stabbing pain in the arch of your foot. It sounds like fun.

Stretching (rolling a tennis ball works excellent), over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, appropriate running shoes, and night splints may be beneficial, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Doctors advise using night splints or custom orthotics if the issue is persistent in order to hasten recuperation and stay moving (er, running). However, more recent study indicates that these night splints may not be particularly useful, so speak with a healthcare professional to determine your best course of action.

injuries to the shin that feel like a kick

If you run and have never felt that sharp, excruciating pain in your shins, please share your secret with us. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are one of the most bothersome illnesses and happen when the muscles and tendons that cover your shinbone get inflamed, frequently as a result of repeated stress.

Shin splints affect 35 percent of all athletes, according to estimates. Try applying ice to your shins for 15 to 20 minutes to stop the stabbing and keep them elevated at night to lessen swelling.

Although prevention is more difficult, research indicates that shock-absorbing insoles that support your arches can be beneficial.

Additionally, make sure your shoes fit your feet properly, and wherever possible, run on softer surfaces. Avoid hills as well because they place more strain on the tibialis muscle in your shin.

Broken bones are a reality, no bones about it.

Everybody knows that even noncontact sports can result in shattered bones. Running’s strain on your bones can be exhausting.

Stress fractures are minute fissures in the bone brought on by beating the leg bones repeatedly with more power than they can withstand. Even people who are young and healthy can experience them.

If this occurs to you, resting is necessary, and typically involves using crutches along with physical rehabilitation.

Make cross-training your best friend to minimize overuse, put suitable footwear on, and consume enough calcium to maintain strong bones for the best chance at prevention.

strained muscles

A pulled muscle results from a muscle’s fibers and tendons rupturing due to overstretching. Runners frequently experience calf and hamstring muscle strains.

A few potential causes include overuse, rigidity, and failing to warm up. Make sure you perform a sufficient warm-up and cool-down as well as some dynamic stretching before to an exercise to avoid a pull.

Avoid running for at least five days while the pain is present; instead, focus on doing mild stretches and applying ice to the affected muscle.

Side seams

Have you ever had that excruciating stomach ache? In fact, side stitches, also known as exercise-related temporary stomach pain, can actually sneak up and impact almost 70% of runners.

Many medical professionals think that repetitive torso motion-involved hobbies, like jogging, are to blame for the pain.

If (or when) you experience a side stitch, try bending forward, contracting your abs, or taking deep breaths during pursed-lip breathing. Running with proper posture may also be beneficial.


Blisters can appear when you least expect them, making them perhaps the most common illness you’re likely to experience. The top layer of skin may rip when your heel grinds against your shoe, creating a bubble between the layers of skin.

Preventing them is the best method to defeat them: Wear a nice pair of synthetic socks and perhaps some moleskin for further protection, and make sure the shoe (literally) fits.

Cover any persistent blisters with a bandage or covering designed specifically for blisters. Despite how tempting it might seem, it’s generally better to avoid popping blisters.


There is typically no way to avoid it. We all have skin-to-skin contact, regardless of our size or body shape.

Skin can get chafed, enraged, and irritated when it scrapes against other skin (looking at you, thighs). Put on a pair of longer running shorts or capris, longer sleeves, or any other clothing that can prevent skin-on-skin contact to halt the sting.

If adding fabric isn’t cutting it, you can also try anti-chafing treatments including powders, sticks, ointments, and more to lessen friction.

Advice on avoiding injuries when you were bred to run

To be on the safe side, take into account these running techniques to reduce aches and pains:

Don’t raise your weekly mileage by more than 10%. Increased mileage too rapidly is a leading contributor to overuse injuries.

Are you planning a challenging run? To ease your body into and out of an exercise and to help prevent injury, always remember to warm up and cool down.

The trick is to be quick and effective. In addition to impeding performance, bad form may also cause unneeded suffering. To avoid injuries, make sure to run with the proper form.

Count the mileage you have put on those running shoes, and change them every 300 to 600 miles. It’s also worthwhile to stop by a speciality running shoe store, where the staff can advise you on the best shoe for your needs.

Avoid running on uneven ground since they strain your ligaments unnecessarily. Off-roading is a great change of pace, but the trails should be traveled with additional caution because the rocky terrain may make it easier to twist an ankle.

Even if running is your primary activity, pay attention to those dumbbells. Your structural fitness can be improved by adding muscle, which will help your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles withstand all the strain.

Surprise: Overuse injuries can result from overtraining. Make sure to mix up those fartleks and hill repeats with some gentler recovery runs, and make sure to take at least one day off each week.


All of this material is not a replacement for seeking competent medical advice, keep that in mind. In order to discuss preventive steps before those aches and pains manifest, consult a doctor or physical therapist if you’re worried about developing a running injury or if you’re beginning a new exercise regimen.

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