Treatment Options for Common Running Injuries
Running may be a great form of exercise, but like any other sport, it can put a lot of stress and strain on your body. If you’re a serious runner, the last thing you want is for injuries to keep you from running. And if you do experience an injury, you’ll want to get back on your feet and into your running shoes as fast as possible.
Dr. Sergai DeLaMora is a fellowship-trained orthopedic physician with expertise in treating sports-related injuries affecting athletes of all ages and levels.
What are the causes of common running injuries?
Running can help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and have a positive effect on your overall health. But like any other strenuous physical activity, it can sometimes lead to orthopedic injuries. Most running injuries are the result of:
- Improper training practices
- Overall poor health
- Lack of conditioning
- Failure to properly warm up and inadequate stretching before running
- Unsuitable or poorly fitting running shoes and gear
- Taking on too much, too fast—increasing the difficulty or the distance of your run too quickly
- Overtraining—running too many miles or not taking enough time to rest in between training sessions
What are some common running injuries?
The severity of possible running injuries runs the gamut from minor irritation to serious injuries requiring immediate medical care.
Some common running injuries include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Hamstring injuries
- Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome
- Labral tears in the hip
- Meniscal injuries and tears
- Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia in the sole of the foot)
- Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
- Shin splints
- Sprains and strains
- Stress fractures
- ACL tears
- Lower back pain
What are the symptoms of running injuries?
Just as the types of running injuries can vary from minor to severe, so can the symptoms associated with them.
There are two main categorizations for sports injuries: acute injuries and chronic injuries. Acute injuries happen suddenly during physical activity, which includes running injuries such as sprains, strains, tears and fractures. Chronic injuries develop gradually over time, and are usually the result of repetitive motion, like running or doing the same set of exercises over and over. Tendonitis, shin splints and stress fractures are three examples of chronic injuries from running.
For runners, acute injuries are usually the result of a bad twist, landing or impact, such as stepping into a hole, falling off a curb, or tripping and falling while running. Signs of an acute injury include:
- Severe and sudden pain
- Inability to bear weight on an injured joint
- Inability to move an injured joint
- Tenderness in the injured area
- Weakness in the affected area
- A joint or bone that is visibly out of place
Symptoms of chronic running injuries may be more difficult to recognize or may seem harmless if they present as mild pain or discomfort. Signs of a chronic injury include:
- Pain when you exercise
- Pain when you walk after a workout, or pain that lasts until the next day
- A dull ache when you’re at rest
What are some common running injury treatments?
There are many possible types of runners’ injuries, and many different treatment options. Appropriate treatment depends on a variety of factors including the type of injury you’ve sustained, your age, and your overall physical condition. In many cases, running injuries can be treated without surgery. Conservative running injury treatments may include:
- Following the RICE method:
- Rest—resting to give the injury proper time to heal
- Ice—icing the affected area for short periods of time to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Compression—wrapping the injured area to reduce swelling
- Elevation—keeping the injured area elevated to reduce swelling and pain
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Immobilizing the injury with a splint, cast or walking aids (e.g. crutches) to keep the injured area from moving and to prevent further injury
- Undergoing physical therapy
- Getting cortisone injections to relieve inflammation and pain
- Getting joint injections to help rebuild joints affected by degenerative disease
In severe cases, or for running injuries that don’t respond to conservative treatment options, surgery may be necessary. Types of surgery that are commonly associated with running injuries include the following:
- ACL reconstruction surgery
- Hip arthroscopy
- Knee arthroscopy
- Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF)
Where can I find the best treatment for a running injury?
Dr. Sergai DeLaMora is a fellowship-trained sports medicine physician who specializes in providing comprehensive and personalized care for runners and athletes facing all types of sports injuries. If you are dealing with a running injury, schedule a consultation with Dr. DeLaMora today to learn more about your treatment options.