June 3, 2014

Understanding Common Running Injuries

ImageAs a rather new, however avid running enthusiast, I wanted to investigate common running injuries that many passionate runners will often face. It’s important that we identify these potential injuries in advance as to avoid injuries in our future. With the health benefits of running bountiful from controlling weight, improving cardiovascular function and help alleviate a host of chronic health problems; it is clear as to why running has become so popular. However, with all of these advantages comes a toll on our lower extremities. Studies suggest knee-related injuries are the most common, accounting for 26-50% of all lower-extremity injuries, the foot, ankle and lower leg make up the other 50%, with hip and lower back always susceptible as well (Ellapen et al.2013; van Gent et al.2007;O’Toole 1992).

Well, what are the most common injury causes?

– rapid increase in weekly mileage

– continuous high mileage (runners averaging 50-70 miles per week have a 50% chance of injury (O’Toole)

– abrupt change in running surface

– failure to follow hard training days with light training days

– wearing inadequate or worn-out footwear

– running on uneven surfaces

– returning to previous mileage too fast after a layoff

– history of previous injuries

– too much hard interval training

– muscle imbalances near a lower-extremity joint and/or inadequate muscular strength or range of motion

Check out the table below for listings of injury sites & type along with injury mechanisms


Injury Site and Type

Injury Mechanisms

Knee: Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or “runner’s knee,” is pain originating from the patella (kneecap). (Lopes et al. 2012)

Knee/hip: Illiotibial band syndrome

Illiotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is a sharp pain along the illiotibial band, which lies along the lateral portion of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. (O’Toole, 1992)

Lower leg: Meidial tibial stress syndrome

Commonly known as shin splints, medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is a pain on or near the anterior midline of the lower tibia, or shinbone (Lopes et al. 2012)

Lower leg: Achilles tendinopathy

Achillies tendinopathy (tendonitis) is a pain or stiffness along the Achilles tendon, caused by inflammation of the tendon and/or the tendon sheath. (Lopes et al. 2012)

Foot: Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a widespread running injury to the foot. (Lopes et al. 2012) The plantar fascia consists of thick connective tissue that supports the arch on the bottom of the foot, extending from the medial tubercle of the calcaneus (heel bone) to the metatarsal heads.

About Geoff Rubin