Training Don’t get sidelined by one of these four common running injuries

Don’t get sidelined by one of these four common running injuries



You’ve probably heard it before. Your friend, colleague, family member – or maybe even you – embarked on a running program. Then after only few weeks, they find themselves slammed with an injury. With more people taking up running now than ever before, physiotherapists and other health care professionals are also seeing some common injuries. This rise in the sport’s popularity has sparked researchers’ interest in taking a closer look at the causes of these injuries, which makes for better recovery and prevention methods.

Here, four of the most common lower-body ailments along with tips for getting back to running…fast.

1. Iliotibial Band Syndrome
What: Commonly referred to as your IT band, this ligament-like structure stabilizes your knee joint and can become irritated and inflamed if you’re not careful.
Symptoms: Typically runners will experience pain in the lower thigh or outside part of the knee, which can be increasingly painful even during daily activities that include bending, such as climbing the stairs.
Causes: While IT band syndrome can result from several causes including overuse, errors in training as well as your individual physical make up can create imbalances that lead to muscular inflammation. More specifically, the inward rolling of your foot while running, known as pronation, and tight quadriceps or gluteal muscles can be contributing factors. When it comes to your training, many runners make the mistake of running on one side of the road, which can put stress on the IT band.
Fixes: Professional analysis of your biomechanics will uncover any physiological issues. But when it comes to training, varying your routes so you run on both sides of the road as well as altering the types of surfaces you’re running on may help alleviate your pain. And don’t hesitate to take some time off from running.

2. Plantar Fasciitis
What: This inflammation of tissue that extends along the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, is a common cause of heel pain. The connective tissue absorbs the impact from pounding the pavement, but when it’s over stretched the tissue tears and becomes inflamed, which results in a sharp, jabbing pain.
Symptoms: If you’ve ever stepped out of bed first thing in the morning and experienced knife-sharp pain on the bottom of your feet, it’s likely plantar fasciitis. Although it can occur in both feet, often this injury is found in only one foot.
Causes: While it’s common for this injury to occur in runners, pregnant women can also suffer along with anyone wearing unsupportive footwear like flip flops.
Fixes: Proper assessment and properly fitted running shoes, along with incorporating stretches are the key to pain free running.

3. Runner’s Knee
What: Used to describe several disorders with different causes, George says this can be called the classic athletic injury. Essentially, this injury can be sustained by runners, cyclists, or any athlete where repetitive bending is part of the activity.
Symptoms: Ongoing pain that is either behind or surrounding the kneecap and worsens when walking downhill, downstairs or when simply bending your knee. In addition, runner’s knee may also include a grinding or popping sensation of your knee joint.
Causes: This type of injury stems from overuse, however, according to George, multiple causes resulting from potentially different sources makes it difficult to provide a specific cause for these types of injuries. While the connective tissue that joins muscle to bones becomes overstretched causing the pain, physiological issues including flat feet may also contribute to runner’s knee.
Fixes: As a runner, it’s not anyone’s favourite option, but staying off your feet is your best method for getting back on track. When you must get up and going, a compression support sleeve or bandage will offer extra support. Your best line of prevention are stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your health care professional.

4. Shin Splints
What: Referring to the pain that is either experienced along the tibia (the large bone at the front of your lower leg) or just behind it.
Symptoms: While the type of pain may vary from a dull ache to sharp jabs, anyone experiencing shin splints feels a pain along the front of the shin, along with possible swelling.
Causes: When too much force is placed on the shin bone and the connective tissues that are surrounding the bone, it’s common for runners or any athletes who participate in sports that require a sudden stop-and-start, including tennis and soccer, to experience this type of pain.
Fixes: Similar to runner’s knee, shin splints can be alleviated by resting from the activity that causes the pain. During your recovery, activities including swimming and other lower impact aerobic activities can be substituted for running.


  1. Common running injuries like ITB syndrome and Runner’s knee can be helped by strengthening the gluteal muscles at the back of the hip. Weakness here will show itself as fatigue when you are 5 and 10K into your run. The result is when the foot hits the ground the knee tracks more to the inside of the foot and that puts stress on the structures around the knee. Resulting in pain. Strengthen the glutes with combinations of bridging, side leg lifts with the leg slightly behind you and if you have good control try the glute airplane. It’s all about the hips a lot of the time!

  2. when running the Ottawa Marathon, the legs started to tighten up at around the 32km mark and I could feel a spasm starting to develop in my right calve. should I have stopped until things started to loosen up some or should I have just gritted my teeth and sucked it up, running with the pain. thanks. great day!!

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