Running injuries usually result from pushing your body too hard, incorrect running form, or not stretching before and after runs. The severity of running injuries ranges from minor to extreme, with each injury requiring a different amount of rest and healing. Some injuries may be acute and need immediate treatment, while others are chronic and must be managed over time. Common running injuries include:
- Plantar fasciitis is a pain in the bottom of the foot from the heel to the arch. This pain tends to occur at the beginning of a run and decreases during the run only to come back later. There are many causes of plantar fasciitis, including flat feet, poor running form, high arch, incorrect shoes, and training errors. To deal with plantar fasciitis, it is recommended to stretch your calf muscles, massage the arch of the foot, apply ice daily, and increase rest time.
- Shin splints cause pain in the shin while running that continues after running. Change in running surface, flat feet, wearing the wrong shoes, and weak hip muscles are just a few of the causes of shin splints. Treatment for shin splints requires resting, decreasing run time, applying ice, stretching calf muscles, and avoiding hills.
- Runner's knee causes pain around and underneath the kneecap. This is a chronic condition that causes pain to increase over time. Stiffness in the knee and pain while squatting are symptoms of runner's knee. Causes of runner's knee include flat feet, improper footwear, poor running form, and tight hamstrings. To treat runner's knee, try applying ice, avoiding activities that cause knee pain, regularly stretching your leg and hip muscles, and finding proper running shoes.
- Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone often caused by overuse and can result from activities like long-distance running. Runners typically experience stress fractures in the feet and shin, causing pain and discomfort. Along with pain, you may notice tenderness and swelling in the affected area. Causes of stress fractures include over-training, a sudden increase in activity, and high-intensity physical activity. If you're experiencing a stress fracture, apply ice, rest, elevate your affected leg, and stop the activity that is causing pain.
- Achilles Tendinopathy is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Pain and stiffness around the Achilles tendon are common symptoms. Tight calf muscles, repetitive stress, and a sudden increase in running routines are common causes of Achilles tendinopathy. To treat Achilles tendinopathy, you should rest, ice the affected area, and stretch your calf muscles regularly.
At McLean County Orthopedics, we are experts in orthopedic care and have extensive experience treating common running injuries. If you're experiencing pain during or after a run, give us a call (309) 663-6461 and schedule an appointment! We would love to help you heal so you can get back to the life you love.