Common Running Injuries

Prevention, Causes, and Treatment of Running Injuries

Despite your best injury prevention efforts, you may find yourself dealing with some aches and pains. Most running injuries take a few weeks to develop and then another couple of weeks to heal. Click on the name of a running injury to learn more about the injury, its causes, treatments, and prevention tips.

Achilles Tendonitis

ankle injury
Science Photo Library
Achilles tendonitis is an injury that occurs when your Achilles tendon -- the large band of tissues connecting the muscles in the back of your lower leg to your heel bone -- becomes inflamed or irritated.

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Ankle Sprains

ankle injury
Science Photo Library / Getty
Ankle sprains are often caused by the twisting or rolling of your ankle and result in swelling and pain above and around the ankle.

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Black Toenails

runner by water
PeopleImages/Getty
Runners, especially those training for long-distance events, can suffer from black toenails, caused by the toes rubbing up against the front of the running shoe. A blood blister forms under the toenail and the nail eventually falls off.

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Bunions

bunion
Ziga Lisjak/Getty

Bunions can be a painful and sometimes debilitating foot injury for runners. Here's how to prevent and treat them.

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Blisters

Foot blisters
Getty Images
While not a serious injury, blisters -- those fluid-filled bubbles of skin on your feet -- can be painful and keep you from running.

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Chafing

running on beach
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Chafing is caused by repeated motion -- specifically, skin rubbing against loose fabric or other skin. Using a lubricant such as Vaseline or BodyGlide can help prevent it.

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Foot Corns

foot corns
Jill Ferry Photography/Getty

Corns are hard, painful lumps on the skin. They tend to develop on areas of your feet that don't bear weight, such as the tops and sides of your toes. Here are some tips on how to treat them, and how to prevent them in the first place.

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Illiotibial Band Syndrome

itbandstretch.jpg
Johner Images/Brand X Pictures

Marked by a sharp, burning knee or hip pain, Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a very common injury among runners. One strategy that helps many runners find relief is self-massaging the IT band with a foam roller.

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Low Back Pain

Man holding sore back
Yagi Studio

Lower back pain is common among runners and often a result of weak core muscles or improper running form. Strengthening your core muscles can help reduce your risk.

Muscle Cramps

Leg Cramp Pain
Bambu Productions
Muscle cramps can be a frustrating and painful issue. Here are some ways to prevent and treat muscle cramping.

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Muscle Pulls or Strains

Calf Stretch for Runners
Mike Harrington / Getty
Muscle pulls and strains are common and annoying injuries for runners, marked by pain and tightness in the affected muscle.

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Runner's Knee

Runners knee injury
Comstock Images

A common complaint among long-distance runners, runner's knee feels like a soreness around and sometimes behind the kneecap. Strengthening the muscles supporting and stabilizing your knees can help prevent it.

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Plantar Fasciitis

Person running on treadmill with heel pain
plantar fasciitis/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Heel pain in runners is usually caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a condition known as plantar fasciitis.

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Side Stitches

runner with side stitch
Jan-Otto/Getty

A side stitch is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage caused by a muscle spasm of the diaphragm. Proper breathing while running can usually prevent annoying side stitches.

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Shin Splints

shin splints
Jan-Otto/Getty
One of the most common injuries for beginner runners, shin splints are characterized by pain in the front of the lower leg.

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Stress Fractures

runner with injury
skynesher / Getty

Stress fractures, or tiny cracks in the surface of a bone, are serious running injuries that require immediate treatment.

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Toe or Foot Numbness

Numbness or a tingling sensation (unrelated to the cold weather) in the toes or foot is a common complaint among runners. Often, the cause is wearing running shoes that are too tight or tying your shoelaces too tight.

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