5 most common running injuries | Enertor Medical

5 most common running injuries | Enertor Medical

It should come as no surprise to you that here at Enertor Medical, we’re huge fans of all things running. As a result, we’re aware of the injuries that affect most runners. Due to the nature of running, a common factor of all the injuries we’ll mention is that they stem – in large part – from overuse. What’s also common to each of these injuries is that they can be prevented and treated with the correct orthotics, such as insoles. So if you have any of the symptoms listed below, we recommend you check out our products.

Here are some of the most running injuries, their causes, and some tips for preventing them.

Runner's knee

‘Runner’s knee’ is the generic term for running-related knee pain and it accounts for over a quarter of all running injuries. The major symptom is pain specifically around the patella (knee cap). Pain tends to heighten when bending the knee to run, squat or walk downstairs. The most common causes are overuse and some kind of musculoskeletal imbalance or weakness in the legs or feet.

In the short term, resting the knee in an elevated position will help ease the pain, as will icing your knee every few hours for a few days until the pain subsides. In the long-term, strengthening and stretching the muscles in the legs will help to relieve the pressure exerted on your knee, thus reducing the likelihood of experiencing runner’s knee in the future. This can take the form of allocating extra time to stretch before running or performing any athletic activity, and incorporating more strength-focused activities into your usual fitness routine. Perhaps you could even add short stretch sessions to your normal daily routine.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, pronounced ‘fash-ee-eye-tus’, is far more fun to say than it is to experience. Latin for “inflammation of the arch tendon”, plantar fasciitis is exactly that - a pain in the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot, from heel to toe. It’s common amongst runners since, while running, the foot absorbs a force that’s several times greater than our body weight with each step. Those with significantly high or low arches are at a greater risk of developing the condition.

Resting for a few days and applying ice to the bottom of the foot will relieve pain. Also, stretching your calf muscles and the arch tendon itself by gently pulling your toes upwards can help to reduce pain. Plus, increased flexibility in the foot and lower leg can help prevent you from developing the condition again. For more information on plantar fasciitis, visit our plantar fasciitis injury page.

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the thick tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, and it accounts for 11% of all running injuries. Again, overuse, that is, running too far, or for too long, too often can lead you to develop the condition. The best course of action is to take a few days to rest from any strenuous physical activity and apply ice to the area regularly.

If the injury is really bad, it may take several months to recover fully. During this time, it’s advisable to reduce physical activity and steadily work your way back to your norm. Take short, fast walks with ankle support, and avoid steep or uneven terrain as much as possible until you’re fully healed. In the long run, strengthening the calf muscle can help protect against Achilles tendonitis.

Shin splints

Shin splints is a condition where small tears occur in the muscles near your shin (tibia bone). Again, often but not always, it’s an overuse injury caused by doing too much too soon, and as such, it’s more common in those who are new to running or have flat foot arches. Those small muscles aren’t used to such physical exertion, and therefore are likely to tear unless proper precautions are taken.

The pain can be described as an ache along the front of your shin that intensifies with each step, especially when running due to the greater force exerted. The best way to cure shin splints is to dial back the physical activity and slowly build up. Take some days to rest and stretch, and then begin taking brisk walks and very short runs in order for those tiny muscles around your shin to strengthen and adapt to your physical routine. Check out our guide to the best stretches for shin splints for ideas.

Stress fracture

Stress fractures have similar symptoms and causes to shin splints but are significantly more severe. In fact, shin splints can lead to stress fractures. For runners, these most commonly occur in the shins and feet, and are a result of running for too long, too often without sufficient rest.

A stress fracture is, as the name suggests, a small fracture that occurs due to prolonged stress on the bone. Since this affects bones rather than muscle, the recovery period is markedly longer than that of shin splints. We advise taking several weeks to rest and avoid physical exertion; bones take far longer than muscles to heal. The old adage “don’t run before you can walk” rings true here - if you’re unable to walk without pain, don’t attempt to run. Only once walking is painless should you attempt running, and even then your runs should be very gentle and very short. Rushing the recovery period could cause a much more serious and long-lasting problem.

To protect yourself from developing a stress fracture, incorporate some strength training into your fitness routine to strengthen the muscles around your bones, and perhaps take a look at your nutrition. Improved nutrition will help fortify your bones, making you less likely to develop a stress fracture.

Whilst Enertor has over 25 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only 

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