Are you one of many people who get a rush from running? This invigorating exercise may make you feel great, but did you know that 30 to 80 percent of runners may suffer an injury while on the go? Educating yourself on the types of injuries to look out for, and how to heal them, can save you headaches in the future.

Common Running Injuries:

#1. Runner’s Knee: If you feel pain under or around the kneecap that increases while going downhill, chances are you have Runner’s Knee- And it accounts for almost 20 percent of running injuries.

Treatment: Reduce the inflammation with rest, and ice. If it doesn’t hurt, it is okay to continue on short runs while focusing on rebuilding your form. Build up the glute, strengthen the quads, and pay attention to leg alignment.

#2. IT Band Syndrome: Your IT band runs down the outside of your hip down to your knees. If this thick tendon becomes inflamed, it causes discomfort around the kneecap- especially while jogging downhill. Weak hips off center your gait leading to friction and irritation which can cause the band to become tight.

Treatment: A universal temporary solution is a corticosteroid injection. You can also work on strengthening your hip abductors, use a foam roller, massage, and stretching to loosen up the area.

#3. Achilles Tendinitis: Continuous pain on the back of the lower leg is a sign your Achilles tendon is inflamed or irritated- often resulting from increased mileage, intensity, or hill workouts. Additionally, switching to a zero-drop shoe to quickly can result in pain as well.

Treatment: Work on strengthening and stretching the calf muscle before you tackle hill climbs.

#4. Plantar Fasciitis: This is painful inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the feet. This dull ache is felt adjacent to the heel of the foot but can start out as a sharp pain early in the morning. Plantar Fasciitis is the result of overuse of ‘off’ biomechanics, which is exacerbated by weak feet. This area receives limited blood flow, so these injuries linger.

Treatment: Cortisone shots help with acute pain. Because the inflammation results from overuse, icing the area is also helpful. Do not treat with a massage or foam roller; it may only irritate the area. Make sure to stretch your calf muscles as it is the primary cause of the condition. You may also consider sleeping in a splint or wearing more supportive shoes.

#5. Pulled Muscle: A muscle pull or strain is a small tear caused by overstretching. If you do pull something, chances are you may feel a popping sensation as the muscle tears. Common areas affected are hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, and groin area.

Treatment: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help heal the area.

#6. Stress Fracture: A stress fracture is a more dangerous running injury. The rupture causes nagging pain resulting from tiny cracks in the bone- most often in the shins, feet, or heels, and is from an overload of the repetitive impact of the ground from running.

Treatment: Rest decreases the pain while activity worsens it, so it is recommended to take a break and let your body heal up. An X-ray can confirm for sure if it’s a fracture and if so, expect to be on crutches for some time. After you have the all clear to work out, focus on weight exercises such as strength training, as it helps strengthen those bones.

#7. Ankle Sprain: A sprain is an acute injury caused by a rolling or twisting movement resulting in tears of the ligaments around the ankle.

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