How to treat and prevent common running injuries

21 Jun, 2023

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out, running is a fantastic way to stay in shape, manage stress and explore the great outdoors. However, it also comes with the risk of injury. But not to worry, there are steps you can take to prevent common running injuries and effectively treat the ones that do occur.

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In this blog post, we’ll provide you with valuable insights on how to treat and prevent common running injuries so you can elevate your running and take it to the next level. 

Running injuries are generally known as overuse injuries and can occur for a variety of reasons. Establishing the cause can be complex and multi-faceted which is why advice from a Physiotherapist may help to identify the cause of your injury. 

The reasons could include but are not limited to: 

  • Inappropriate training loads
  • Muscle and soft tissue imbalances 
  • Reduced lower limb strength 
  • Improper running technique 
  • Incorrect shoes 
  • Poor warm up
  • Insufficient recovery 

Runners are often advised to rest from overuse injuries; however, complete rest is not the answer.

Instead, active recovery is shown to be the most beneficial in promoting healing by increasing blood flow to help repair and rebuild muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Therefore, runners should opt for active recovery activities like walking, cycling, and running in water.

To recover quickly from a running injury, it is crucial to not ignore the symptoms and seek advice from a physiotherapist. However, if you do experience common running injuries, there are steps you can take to manage and prevent them in the future.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is a common type of knee pain that can be caused by overuse or poor practices. Symptoms include pain around or behind the kneecap, particularly when performing certain activities such as going downhill or bending the knee.

To prevent runner’s knee, appropriate footwear, gradual increases in mileage and hill runs, and strengthening exercises for the quads and glutes can be helpful. If you experience runner’s knee, active rest and ice are crucial in the initial stages, and seeking the help of a physiotherapist may also be beneficial for both prevention and treatment.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The ITB is a crucial structure for stabilising the leg while running, but repetitive bending and straightening of the knee can lead to inflammation, irritation, and pain resulting in ITBS.

Pain is often felt on the outside of the knee, particularly when the heel strikes the ground during running or other activities. To prevent ITBS, dynamic stretches should be incorporated into the running warm-up, and targeted strength training exercises for the hip and gluteal muscles should be introduced. Consulting a Physiotherapist is also recommended for treatment and prevention of recurring injuries.

Plantar Fasciitis 

Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury that occurs when the plantar fascia, a fibrous band located underneath the foot, becomes inflamed and irritated due to additional strain. Pain is often felt along the underside of the foot, particularly in the heel, especially in the morning or after prolonged sitting.

To avoid this injury, it is suggested to regularly stretch the feet and calves, wear suitable running shoes, and avoid running on hard and uneven surfaces. 

Shin Splints 

Shin Splints, or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), is a common overuse injury of the lower leg that often affects runners. The pain usually occurs over the front of the shin at the end of a run, but it can quickly lead to more serious symptoms and even stress fractures if ignored. To prevent MTSS, it is recommended to warm up properly and introduce active recovery days into your weekly exercise routine.

Additionally, runners should be cautious when increasing their mileage, increasing it by no more than 10% per week. If symptoms do occur, seeking the advice of a physiotherapist who can provide a graded loading exposure program is important.

Get in touch with us today

Running injuries are common, but they’re not inevitable. By taking preventative measures and seeking treatment, you can stay healthy and injury-free. If you are experiencing any symptoms of the above injuries, seek the help of one of our qualified Physiotherapists for personalised rehabilitation and exercise plans specific to your individual needs.

Call us on 1300 122 884 to book an appointment today. 


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