Common running injuries

Running coach Simon James shares the most common running injuries you'll come across

runners in the alps

by Simon James |
Posted on

It’s so frustrating getting injured! Not only is it painful but it also impacts our mood. We get stressed, training gets pushed back, events become a worry and we frequently search for shortcuts to recovery that aren't necessarily the best road to full health.

In this article, coach, ultra runner and Run the Wild founder Simon James takes a look at some of the most common running injuries so you can better identify a running niggle and get back on the right track towards recovery.

I can speak from personal experience of having both life changing injuries, as well as those annoying tweaks that can seem to take forever to go away. This really is a challenging part of being a runner, but there are many things that can be done better in order to prevent running injuries. First thing's first though, you need to know the cause of the problem before you can find a solution.

Less injuries means, being able to do more of what you love, giving you every opportunity to train harder and become a stronger runner. But first, let's take a look at some of the most common running injuries out there.

The most common running injuries

runners in the alps
Credit: Simon James

Getting the right advice

Since all injuries are personal and are difficult to diagnose, you should always seek the help of a medical practitioner. However, first, let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries that occur.

Acute or Chronic?

Running injuries can be divided into two categories, acute and chronic. Acute are traumatic injuries that usually occur during a run, often due to falls or misjudged landings. However, the most common are chronic injuries. These are picked up during the process of training and occur over time or due to overuse.

Whether you have a chronic or acute injury, it’s really important to get a professional diagnosis and rest before running again. Runners are often really bad at both looking after themselves and following advice! We just want to get running again as soon as possible, but if you get out running again too early, you’ll end up prolonging your recovery which is the opposite of your ultimate goal.

So, what are the most common running injuries? These are our top seven...

Twisted ankle

It’s amazing how such a small off-balance move can cause so much pain and immobility! They often happen during lapses of concentration from stretching (sprain) the ligaments (the fibres that hold bones together) in the foot.

This is an acute injury, therefore, assessing your mobility before continuing is really important. Like any acute injury, it needs immediate care and you might need to compress and ice the joint or even get medical intervention depending on its severity.

Runner’s Knee

Aptly named, this covers the pain underneath the knee cap or around the knee induced by running. It really could be anything, so you’ll need to get this checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible, and stop scrolling for answers online!

Shin splints

A really common enemy of the runner, particularly those new to running or those changing loads too quickly. It’s usually attributed to inflammation where the muscles attach to the tibia (shin). Unfortunately, shin splits can often be a reccuring niggle for runners.

Plantar fasciitis

If you’ve experienced prolonged tightness on the sole of your foot then it could be plantar fasciitis. It’s usually most noticeable in the morning as you pop your feet on the floor for the first time and also when you begin your run, generally easing off with activity.

Achilles Tendonitis

At the back of the heal is the insertion point for this tendon, from here it forms your calf muscle. You’ll be able to feel it when you do heal raises. Tendons love regular loading. They don’t like sudden changes in load, nor do they like being used all the time, or not at all. It’s all about balance!

Tendonitis is just a medical term for inflammation and this is what causes the pain. The pain can be really sharp and sadly this condition, like plantar fasciitis, can sometimes take several years to settle down.

IT Band Syndrome

The Iliotibial Band is a fibrous band that that runs from the outside upper leg and attaches to the outside of the knee. Sufferers will often feel knee pain as this band pulls on the knee or on the hip, accentuated when running fast or up hills.

Muscle Strains

These happen very frequently, you might feel localised areas of tightness in your muscles which are often described as knots. They can get bigger than this but essentially, it’s an area where muscles fibres have been torn from overuse.

What is Run the Wild?

Simon James founded Run the Wild in 2013, which has now been delivering incredible trail running adventures for over a decade. Our running events include everything from 10km runs in the Chilterns to multi-day running holidays in the Alps. From guided runs to navigation workshops and running coaching – there is something for you wherever you are on your trail running journey!

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