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Common Running Injuries

Runners Knee: A condition which is characterised by anterior knee pain. Several factors can be present when anterior knee pain develops but the most common reason is Patello- Femoral joint mal-tracking. This can occur due to altered foot biomechanics resulting in internal rotation of the tibia. Reduced Hip stability and Gluteus Medius (one of the buttock muscles) inhibition cause overuse of the ITB and subsequent lateral tracking of the patella. Swelling can develop within the knee complex also as the posterior surface of the patella comes into contact with the anterior distal femur.

Any acute injury and acute swelling should be treated with rest, Ice, compression and elevation (RICE regime). Addressing muscle imbalance, joint proprioception and foot biomechanics are key to ensuring this does not become an ongoing issue.

Shin Splints: A pain which occurs along the inside or front of the shin bone. People with flat feet (pronated) tend to develop this injury more frequently. The onset of symptoms often coincides with long distance running or running on a more inclined gradient. Treatment should include rest, ice and elevation, stretches to the anterior lower leg muscle groups and a phased return to flat surface running.

Achilles Tendonitis: An Inflammatory pathology of the largest weight-bearing tendon in the body. Achilles tendinitis is characterised by pain during full weight bearing activities and stiffness in the posterior ankle in the morning. Factors which contribute to the development of this condition include tight calf muscles, abnormal foot biomechanics and overuse injury. Treatment for this problem should include rest, Calf Stretches and contrast therapy to the area (ice for 10 minutes followed by heat for 10 mins). Kinesiology taping techniques, foam rolling and insoles/orthotics if indicated on biomechanical assessment may also be required to fully resolve this pathology.


Muscle pull: A small tear in muscle, also called a muscle strain, often caused by over-stretching. If you sustain a pulled or strained muscle, a popping sensation may be felt when the muscle tears. Acute treatment includes the application of the RICE principles.

Some of the more common muscle strains in running affect these muscles groups:

•             hamstrings

•             quadriceps

•             calf

•             groin

The important points to note are that one should never run through pain or ignore an injury as this will only lead to compensatory movements and secondary injuries. If pain does not ease with rest, stretching and ice over a five day period, we would recommend consulting with or attending a Chartered Physiotherapist for further guidance. Any Injury which is treated in the acute or sub-acute time frame generally has a better prognosis and a quicker response to treatment facilitating a speedy return to running.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a form of self myofascial release that targets tense and overworked muscles. It is similar to myofascial release, a common technique used in massage, otherwise known as deep-tissue massage. Over the last decade there has been a large shift towards injury prevention and myofascial flexibility. This has led to the rise in popularity of the “Foam Roller”. Studies have found that massage and soft tissue mobilisations help the body to repair following micro-trauma (such as running). But as having a massage after every run is not realistic, the foam roller is a cost effective way to improve myofascial flexibility. It is an excellent adjunct to any runners training routine and is highly recommended for those running more than or up to 10k per week. It is very successful in the treatment of ITB Syndrome (as part of a full treatment program).

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