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4 Common Running Injuries and How to Treat Them

Running is a great way to improve your health and stay in shape. Unfortunately, there are several types of sports injuries frequently associated with running. The following are 4 common running injuries and the best ways to treat them.

  1. Shin Splints

Nearly every runner has experienced inflammation and pain in the tendons and muscles of the lower leg. Shin splints are more likely to occur after you change your workout routine, or dramatically increase your training volume, intensity, or duration. Reducing your running duration or frequency, using over-the-counter pain relievers, and icing are all recommended treatments for shin splints. Another way to offload the shins while continuing your running is to do pool jogging. This allows you to continue to stress your cardiovascular system and work the same muscles as running while offloading the bones due to decreased impact on contact. If self-treatment techniques are not enough, seek a proper evaluation by your physical therapist.

  1. Runner's Knee

Officially named patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), this condition generally refers to the dysfunction of the knee and potentially leads to the breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap. According to Runner's World, approximately 40% of injuries sustained by runners are in the knee. PFPS can be due to a variety of reasons including but not limited to muscle tightness, muscle weakness, and inflammation. Some self-treatments to try include taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, foam rolling the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, strengthening the hips and knees, and stretching the lower extremities. If these self-treatments are not enough, you may need to seek physical therapy services in order to improve the condition.

  1. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that leads to pain and swelling in the heel. Running in old or poor-quality shoes can cause this condition, as well as dysfunction in the ankle, hip, or knee. Icing, elevating the foot to reduce swelling, and wearing heel lifts to offload the tendon are treatment options used to improve Achilles tendonitis. Additionally, an eccentric strengthening program will help both treat the flair-up as well as prevent re-injury. If self-treatment techniques are not sufficient or the issue is recurring, seek skilled physical therapy to undergo a complete evaluation.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis

Of all the various sports injuries, this is one that not only affects runners but can happen to almost anyone who walks a lot or stands on their feet for extensive periods of time. With this injury you can feel pain throughout the arch or the heal, typically worse in the mornings or after prolonged periods of inactivity. This injury can often be treated with rest, and a more appropriate pair of shoes, or custom orthotic inserts. Additionally performing daily calf stretching and rolling the bottom of your foot on a ball will help with symptom management. If the pain persists, seek an evaluation by your physical therapist for a comprehensive treatment plan.

Good shoes, proper running form, and adding strength training is often the key to preventing many types of running injuries. Once injuries have occurred you may benefit from adding physical therapy to your routine. According to a Wellness article in U.S. News, physical therapy is a better option for treating running-related injuries than seeing a chiropractor or opting for surgery.


  1. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/running-injuries-causes-prevention-treatment#1

  2. http://www.runnersworld.com/health/the-big-7-body-breakdowns

  3. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/10/07/physical-therapy-for-running-injuries