5 Warning Signs of Running Injuries

How to Tell the Difference Between Running Injuries and Aches

Ever feel a pain on your shin during a run and think, "Oh no, what if it's a stress fracture?" But then it goes away just as quickly as it started. But what about the pains that don't go away or get worse during runs? If you ignore those types of pain, you could make it much worse by continuing to run through it.

Here are some ways to determine whether your pain is just a little ache or a warning sign of a running injury.

The pain continues or gets worse when you're running.

Ankle sprain injury
PM Images
We've all had those runs where something feels a little tight or uncomfortable when you start your run, but then it goes away after a mile or two of running. If your pain sticks or it gets progressively worse as you continue running, you should stop your run and take a few days off to see if you notice any improvement.

You notice soreness and swelling.

If you've recently done a long run or an intense workout, some muscle soreness after running is normal. But if there's also swelling where you're feeling pain, the inflammation is sign that something's not right. Get some ice on it (15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours) and rest for a couple of days.

Also see:
How to Take an Ice Bath

You're changing your stride.

Runners feet
John Foxx

A minor ache or pain shouldn't force you to change your stride when you're running. If your gait is off, see if a few days off from running makes a difference. You don't want to run when you're not doing your usual stride because, not only can running through that type of pain make your injury worse, but overcompensating can lead to a new injury in another area.

You're feeling pain even when you're walking around.

If the pain is causing you to limp when you're just walking around or it's interfering with daily activities, that's a sign that you should get it checked out by a doctor.

Your performance is suffering.


Even if you're not feeling pain or you've run through this type of discomfort before, if you're slow or sluggish and can't figure out any reason why, back off with some rest and recovery. A short break from running may keep a minor issue from turning into a full-blown running injury.

Also see: 7 Steps for Injury Prevention
When to See a Doctor for a Running Injury
5 Running Mistakes That Could Lead to Injury