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Common running injuries: prevention, causes, treatment

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Common running injuries: prevention, causes, treatment

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 05/12/2020 by RBH

Sports injuries are a part and parcel of any athlete’s life. Like they say, no pain, no gain. Sports injuries are very common in sports, especially during practice, training, or competition. Yes, sports injuries are bound to happen but aren’t prevention better than cure? So, let’s run through some of the key running injuries and how to fix them.

Common running injuries include

  • Runner’s knee

        Also known as chondromalacia, a runner’s knee develops may develop when the knee is overused or injured. It is used to describe anyone or several conditions that cause pain in the knee cap also known as Patella. Unlike fractures and trauma, injuries of runner’s knee develop over time 


There are several causes for a runner’s knee, the most common being accelerated wear and tear of the knee. Others include a direct impact to the knee, malalignment of the bones in your legs, flat feet also known as fallen arches, and weak or unbalanced thigh muscles.


A runner’s knee can be prevented by keeping the thigh muscles strong and flexible through simple weight-training exercises. This includes squats, lunges, and curls. In the case of flat feet, using shoe inserts reduces the risk of injury. And if we talk about the basics, one should always wear proper running shoes and warm up before any kind of leg workout.


The treatment for runners’ knees is quite simple. Rest before you put your knee to test. To ease the pain and reduce the swelling one should apply an ice pack on their knee and keep it elevated and wrap it up in elastic bandages. 

  • Hamstring issues

Hamstrings are a set of three muscles that originate at sit bones or the part of the pelvis you feel when you sit down, they connect with the part just below the knee cap. The repetitive use of the hamstring during a run with little to no variation can cause it to tighten over time, which in turn causes discomfort and pain.


Putting too much strain on your hamstrings can cause muscle damage. It is common in runners with high mileage run patterns like a marathon. It is also caused by starting a rigorous workout without proper warm-up and stretching exercises.


To prevent hamstring strains, you need to:

  • Warm up before the workout and stretch once you are finished
  • Stop immediately if you feel pain in the back of your thigh
  • Strengthen the hamstring muscles
  • Boost the intensity of your workout gradually


         The treatment for Hamstring strain includes providing sufficient rest to
         the muscles. Icing to reduce inflammation, compression using elastic
         bandages, and keeping the leg elevated. It would also be wise to see a
         physiotherapist for a proper exercise regime and diagnosis of the  

  • Shin splints

Shin splints cause pain along the lower-front part of your leg, along the shin bone also known as the tibia. It is an overuse injury caused by small tears in the muscles of the lower leg. They are common in people who change their running routine frequently. 


Shin splints are caused by flat feet, improper shoe support or shoes with rundown soles, and working out without doing a proper warmup or cooling down routine before and after the workout. Another reason could be weak thigh, calf, and core muscles.


Like most running injuries this too is caused by overuse of the muscles that eventually leads to shifting of strain from muscles to the bone. To avoid shin splints, you should avoid rigorous training routines without a qualified physical trainer. Also make sure to stretch your hamstrings, and avoid firm or hard surfaces for exercise. Don’t forget to strengthen your calves and hamstrings. Foot and arch muscles.


The best treatment for any injury is to rest your body and give it time to heal. The other treatment includes elevation of the leg and icing to reduce the swelling and help with the pain. Physiotherapy too is important in some cases to help with the proper movement to avoid further injuries.

  • Stress fractures

A stress fracture is a crack or severe bruising of the bone caused by overuse of the muscles around it. They occur when the muscles become weak and stop acting as shock absorbers, thereby transferring the load to the bone causing bruising or small cracks in the bone.


  • The causes include
  • Overuse of the tibia,
  • Low bone density is also known as osteoporosis,
  • Poor running form, which puts undue stress on bones
  • Insufficient nutrition,
  • Improper equipment. 


Like most sports injuries this too requires the R.I.C.E. treatment, which says Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. One should take the medicines prescribed by the doctor for pain and swelling. A physiotherapist is recommended once movement is easier.


Stress fractures develop in people who have dramatically increased their exercise routine. So, to prevent these injuries, you need to progress gradually into any exercise regimen. Use proper training equipment and footwear, which is the key to any exercise. Also, keep in mind the warmup and cooling down exercises to avoid further injuries.

So, to prevent common running injuries, all it takes is some common sense and proper preventive measures. These small tips can go miles to save you from injuries too.