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Running Injury

Information about common injuries in runners

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Updated April 04, 2014

Running is a sport of passion; why else would we torture our bodies with miles of punishment every day? Running injuries are an unfortunate, but all too common, occurrence. Understanding a running injury is the key to effective treatment. Here you will find resources that explain common problems, and offer information about types of treatment for a running injury.

Hip & Thigh Injuries

  • Hip Bursitis
    Inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint, so-called trochanteric bursitis, can cause pain with hip movement. Treatment of hip bursitis is often effective, but the condition has a problem of coming back and sometimes becoming a persistent problem.
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome
    Snapping hip syndrome is a word used to describe three distinct hip problems. The first is when the IT band snaps over the outside of the thigh. The second occurs when the deep hip flexor snaps over the front of the hip joint. Finally, tears of the cartilage, or labrum, around the hip socket can cause a snapping sensation.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
    The iliotibial band is a thick, fibrous band that spans from the hip to the shin; it lends stability to the knee joint, and is attached to muscles of the thigh. ITBS is caused when the band becomes inflamed and tender.
  • Pulled Hamstring
    A pulled hamstring is a common sports injury, seen most commonly in sprinters. A pulled hamstring is a injury to the muscle called a hamstring strain. Treatment of a pulled hamstring is important for a speedy recovery.
  • Hip Stress Fractures
    Stress fractures of the hip are most common in athletes who participate in high-impact sports, such as long distance runners. Treatment usually is successful by avoiding the impact activities.

Knee Injuries

  • Patellofemoral Syndrome
    Also called "Runner's Knee," problems associated with the patella, or kneecap, are common in runners. The term runner's knee may refer to several common injuries such as chondromalacia, patellar tendonitis, or generalized knee pain.
  • Kneecap Subluxation
    Many kneecap issues are related to the position of the kneecap within the groove on the end of the thigh bone. Often, the kneecap can be pulled to the side of the groove, called a subluxation, and in severe injuries the kneecap can fully dislocate from the groove.
  • Plica Syndrome
    Plica syndrome occurs when there is irritation of the lining of the knee joint. Part of the lining of the knee joint is more prominent in some individuals, and can form a so-called plica shelf. If this tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause knee pain.

Leg Injuries

  • Shin Splints
    Shin splints, like runner's knee, is a term that describes a set of symptoms, not an actual diagnosis. Shin splint pain can be due to problems with the muscles, bone, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone.
  • Stress Fractures
    Stress fractures of the hip are usually seen in long distance runners, and much more commonly in women than in men. These injuries are usually seen in endurance athletes with deficient nutrition or eating disorders.
  • Exercise Induced Compartment Syndrome
    Exercise induced compartment syndrome is a condition that causes pain over the front of the leg with activity. Patients with exercise induced compartment syndrome may require surgery, call a fasciotomy, to relieve their symptoms.

Ankle Injuries

  • Ankle Sprain
    Ankle sprains are common injuries that runners experience. Early recognition and treatment of this problem will help speed your recovery from ankle ligament injuries.
  • Achilles Tendonitis
    Achilles tendonitis is a painful condition of the tendon in the back of the ankle. Left untreated, Achilles tendonitis can lead to an increased risk of Achilles tendon rupture.

Foot Injuries

  • Plantar Fasciitis
    Plantar fasciitis is a syndrome of heel pain due to inflammation of the thick ligament of the base of the foot. A tight, inflamed plantar fascia can cause pain when walking or running, and lead to the formation of a heel spur.
  • Overpronation
    Pronation is a normal movement of the foot through the gait cycle. When this motion becomes excessive, overpronation can cause a variety by altering the normal mechanics of the gait cycle. Shoes to control excess foot motion can be helpful for overpronators.
  • Arch Pain
    Arch pain is a common foot complaint. Arch pain, also sometimes called a strain, often causes inflammation and a burning sensation under the arch of the foot. Treatment of arch pain often consists of adaptive footwear and inserts.

Avoiding Injuries

While this information should probably be first, many athletes, runners included, fail to take proper steps to avoid injury. Even with the most attentive preventative athlete, however, a running injury may still occur--such is the nature of the sport. Taking a few steps will decrease your chances of developing a serious problem:
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