Over 50% of runners will get an injury once a year, some only suffering with pain for a few days, others develop more chronic symptoms which result in them not being able to run for weeks or months.. The three most common reasons runner’s get injured are either having recently taken up running, doing too much too soon, or having a previously unresolved injury. The most commonly injured areas of runners is the knee, followed by the lower leg, foot and thigh. As well as various muscle strains and tweaks the most common injuries that runners get are:
The Achilles tendon is subjected to loads of up to 12 times a person’s bodyweight during running, so overuse injuries and pain is very common in runners, especially those who engage in activities such as sprinting or cross country running. It is usually felt as pain after an increase in activity that will settle after a few days rest, but a more chronic condition where the tendon does not heal (tendinopathy) can develop in some people. Tightness or weakness in the muscles of the lower leg can contribute to this condition.
‘Runner’s knee’ (Patellofemoral Tendonitis/Tendinopathy)
Pain under the patella is very common in runners due to the very high forces exerted on the patellofemoral joint during running. The nature of its high intensity workload can leave it vulnerable to injury and damage with 20% of people who regularly engage in high impact activities suffering from patella tendon pain. Sufferers can have pain for a few days that improves with rest, but if the pain is longstanding and pervasive it is usually the case that the tendon’s normal healing process has become disrupted, this leads to pain and further trauma to the tendon when it is run upon. Likely causes for these imbalances include weak gluteal muscles, an imbalance in the quadriceps, or tightness in the hamstrings, hip flexors or calves. These can also be influenced by external factors such as improper footwear or training on unsuitable surfaces.
This is a painful condition that affects the strong tissues that help make up the arch in the foot. Sufferers tend to complain of pain on the sole of the foot, usually from the heel and then inwards towards the arch of the foot, the pain is commonly worse on standing first thing in the morning, the pain may lessen as more steps are taken but will reoccur as the activity is prolonged, leading to a limited ability to perform activity. It is most commonly seen when a runner increases either the amount or type of training they are doing but can also be connected to ankle and toe mechanics, and less often, choice of footwear.
‘Shin splints’ (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
This condition is mainly felt as pain on the inside of the shin and is caused by an increase of forces due to running that pull on the soft tissue (periosteum) that wraps around your shin bone. It usually occurs when a runner changes their training pattern to either sprinting work, off-road running, or simply increasing the amount they are doing. Other factors such as hip, ankle and foot mechanics can also increase a person’s chance of developing this problem.
‘Iliotibial band syndrome’
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is believed to result from the constant friction of the tissues of the thigh sliding over the outside of the knee. It is the most common cause of lateral knee pain