10 Common Running Injuries and Treatments for a Healthy 10K Race


As many of you are getting ready to run the Richmond 10K, we wanted to review the most common running injuries.  These usually happen when you push yourself too hard too quickly.  Many injuries occur when you first start running or after recovering from an injury.

Here are 10 common running injuries.

1. Runner’s knee. This is a common overuse injury. Runner’s knee has several different causes. But it’s commonly due to the kneecap being out of alignment. Over time, the cartilage on the kneecap can wear down. Vigorous activity leads to pain around the kneecap, particularly when: going up or down stairs, squatting, sitting with the knee bent for a long time.

2. Stress fracture. This is a small crack in a bone that causes pain and discomfort. It typically affects runners in the shins and feet. It is often due to going too hard before your body gets used to a new activity. Pain gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Rest is important, as continued stress on the bone can lead to more serious injury.

3. Shin splints.  This injury is a pain that occurs in the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints commonly occur after a change in activity, such as running longer distances or increasing the number of days you run too quickly. People with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints. Treatment includes: rest, stretching , exercise  and slow return to activity after several weeks of healing.

4. Achilles tendonitis. This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. That’s the large tendon that attaches the calf to the back of the heel. Achilles tendinitis causes pain and stiffness in the area of the tendon, especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the tendon, often due to increasing your running distances too quickly. Tight calf muscles can also contribute. Treatment includes: rest icing the area, calf stretches.

5. Muscle pull. This is a small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain, often caused by over-stretching of a muscle. If you suffer a pulled muscle, you may feel a popping sensation when the muscle tears. Treatment includes RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. A muscle pull commonly occurs with the hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles, and groin.

6. Ankle sprain. This is the stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often occurs when the foot twists or rolls inward. Sprains typically get better with rest, ice, compression, and elevating the foot.

7. Plantar fasciitis.  An inflammation of the plantar fascia. That’s the thick band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes. People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Although it may be linked to an increase in activity, plantar fasciitis may occur without any identifiable reason. Treatment includes: calf stretches, rest, icing the bottom of the foot.

8. Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). This syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee. The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. ITBS occurs when this ligament thickens and rubs the knee bone, causing inflammation. Long-distance runners are more likely to develop ITBS. Treatment includes: decreasing the amount of exercise, heat,  stretching prior to exercise, and icing the area after activity.

9. Blisters. These are fluid-filled sacks on the surface of the skin. They are caused by friction between your shoes/socks and skin. To help prevent blisters: start using new shoes gradually, wear socks with a double layer, and application of petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters.

10. Temperature-related injuries. These include: sunburn, heat exhaustion, frostbite and hypothermia.  These can be prevented by dressing appropriately, staying hydrated, and using sunscreen.

How are you preventing these common injuries as you gear up for the Monument 10K? Are you taking the proper measures to avoid these training derailments? Tell us about them in the comment section below. And have a safe and fabulous race!