Preventing Running Injuries

David B. Gealt, DO
Director, Sports Concussion Program
Assistant Director of Sports Medicine
Cooper Bone and Joint Institute

Silhouette woman run under blue sky with cloudsRunning is a great form of exercise. It can enhance physical fitness, decrease stress, and give a sense of accomplishment. Most injuries in running are overuse injuries. Skin injuries and heat illness are also seen with running.

Overuse injuries can lead to stress fractures in the bones of the foot and ankle, and are common in runners. More serious stress fractures of the hip are also seen. If one is having pain at rest in a focal area, it is possible that he/she has a stress fracture. Tendonitis, tendonitis at the knee, Achilles tendon, and iliotibial band (IT band) are common areas where overuse injuries are seen in runners.

Skin Injuries can include blisters, irritation of the skin from friction of clothing and sunburn. Runners are also at risk for heat illness, especially in hot, humid environments.

Running injuries can be prevented in a variety of ways including:

  • Do not increase weekly mileage by more than 10 percent a week.
  • Change shoes every 350-500 miles.
  • Wear shoes that support your foot structure. Running store employees are knowledgeable about this subject.
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing.
  • Wear proper fitting and proper thickness socks.
  • Apply sun block for outdoor running.
  • Develop and maintain a stretching routine. Runners have notoriously tight muscles. Tight muscles put people at risk for overuse injuries.
  • Hydrate well in advance of your runs.
  • If you experience pain while running or at rest, stop running and contact your doctor immediately. Pushing through the pain can make things worse. Stopping and correcting the problem will get you back to running in the shortest and safest amount of time.
  • Consult a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer with any concerns about particular injuries or prevention methods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *