On this page you will a directory of the most common running injuries affecting the foot, ankle, lower leg, knee and upper leg. A brief synopsis of each injury is discussed. A full description on the running injury including, anatomy, causes, symptoms, treatments, exercises and videos can be accessed by following links.
Common running injuries of the foot
Usually affects the forefoot and is one of the more common running injuries that affects the female athlete but it can be seen in males also. Its is caused by high impact stresses, lack of shock absorbency and systemic conditions such as osteoporosis. Read more->
This is a nerve impingement problem that affects the forefoot. This running injury is caused by hyper mobility of the foot due to excess pronation. It is a common running injury and is more prevalent in the middle aged female athlete. Read more->
This running injury affects the joints of the toes (the metatarso phalangeal joints) The joint gets swollen and inflamed. It is one of the common running injuries caused by high impact forces and lack of shock absorbency at the forefoot. Read more->
Running injuries affecting the big toe joint are common but hallux limitus is usually more serious. Arthritic changes of the joint causes reduction of movement at the joint, resulting in increased stress and pain in the area. Read more->
inter metatarsal bursitis
Symptoms are similar to morton’s neuroma but rather than the nerve being the problem this running injury is caused by a fluid filled sac that develops and pushes on the nerve causing pain, tinging and numbness that starts in the forefoot but can affect the toes. Read more->
This is the most common of the running injuries that affect the big toe. Often severe pain is felt under the ball of the big toe when running. Sesamoiditis is caused by poor biomechanics and high impact forces due to poor shock absorbency. Read more->
worn running shoes
Running shoes that are passed their best are one of the major causes of running injuries. After 5-700 miles the shock absorbency and stability of the shoe start to become severely compromised increasing the chance of injury. Read more->
Common running injuries of the heel and ankle
Affects the heel and is noted as pain under the heel pad when weight bearing. The symptoms are particularly noticeable when rising from bed in the morning. This is one of the most common running injuries affecting the heel. Causes include poor biomechanics and high impact forces. Read more.
tarsal tunnel syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs from abnormal pressure on a nerve on the inside of the heel the foot. The condition is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. The condition is one of the more uncommon running injuries but is usually caused by poor biomechanics. Read more->
posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
The posterior tibial tendon (PTTD) runs behind the inside bump on the ankle (the medial malleolus), across the instep, and attaches to the bottom of the foot. This is a common tendonitis running injury and is caused by poor biomechanics and tight muscles groups. Read more->
One of the main running injuries that affects the outside of the ankle. Pain is similar to that of PTTD and is felt when going on to tiptoe. The peroneal tendon becomes swollen and inflamed and painful to the touch. Read more->
The most common of the ankle running injuries. Most often caused by an inversion injury (where foot rolls inwards. Worn footwear, uneven terrain and poor biomechanics are the leading reasons for ankle sprain when running. Read more->
Chronic ankle pain
When an athlete sustains repeated running injuries to the ankle usually in the form of repetitive sprains. Scar tissue and weakness develops causing pain and instability. It is treatable but usually extra ankle support is required when running. Read more->
Anterior ankle impingement
Ankle impingement is caused by the joint capsule around the ankle being ‘pinched’ when running usually between the bones of the lower leg and the foot. It is an uncommon running injury but when it does occur it is extremely painful. Read more->
Retro calcaneal bursitis
Retro calcaneal bursitis is a swelling of the fluid filled sac that sits at the back of the calcaneus (heel bone), deep to the Achilles. The Achilles. tendon itself isn’t painful but if the deeper structures are squeezed the it can be particularly tender. Read more->
Is an anatomical protrusion of bone that grows on the back of the heel bone. This can irritate the soft tissue structures at the back of the ankle causing pain. It is one of the less common injuries of the ankle and is diagnosed by x-ray. Read more->
This is the most common of the running injuries affecting the back of the ankle. The Achilles. tendon becomes swollen and inflamed and if left untreated is at increased risk of rupture. Worn foot wear and poor biomechanics are the major cause of this problem. Read more->
Running injuries of the lower leg
Bone Shin splints
Micro fractures of the tibia (shin bone) causes inflammation and pain. This is one of the primary running injuries that is caused by poor shock absorbency. Read more->
Muscular shin splints
Overuse of the decelerator muscles of the lower leg causes pain on the inside or outside of the tibia. One of the biggest running injuries caused by poor biomechanics and increasing training. Read more->
Potentially the most serious of the running injuries affecting the lower leg. Stress of the muscles causes increased compartment pressures and can lead to severe complications. Read more->
Common running injuries of the knee
Plica knee syndrome
Collateral ligament injury
Medial and collateral ligament strains are a leading cause of running injury. These ligaments hold the knee in place on the inside and outside of the joint and are easily strain when running. Poor biomechanics and worn footwear are the main causes of this condition. Read more->
A very common running injury affecting the knee. The cartilage becomes torn leading to the knee ‘locking up’ or ‘giving way’. Poor biomechanics and high impact forces are the main causes of Meniscal tears. Read more->
Anterior cruciate ligament strain/ rupture
Twisting injury can cause ACL strain or rupture. This is the most common of running injuries affecting the knee but can lead to instability and severe pain if it occurs. Read more->
The most common of the knee running injuries affecting the athlete. Frictional stressed caused by poor biomechanics results in inflammation and pain behind the knee cap. Pain is particularly noticed when walking up and down stairs. Read more->
Running injuries affecting children and the younger athlete
Affects the growth plate of the heel in the young athlete. Pain is felt when squeezing the heel and is most common in young boys aged between 10 and 12 years of age. If addressed properly it is easily treated. Read more->
The young runner experiences pain and swelling just below the knee. A bony swelling may also be noted. This is caused by inflammation of the growth plate at the upper end of the tibia (shin bone). Read more->
Tight muscle groups causing strain
When a young person experiences a growth spurt, the long bones in the leg grow quickly and the muscles struggle to keep up this can lead to a host of running injuries caused by tight muscle groups.
Prevention of running injuries
The biomechanics of the foot, ankle and lower leg are a complex and controlled sequence of events when running. However if there is a slight biomechanical abnormality occurring anywhere along the chain of motion then the chances of running injuries are much greater.
Intrinsic causes of running injuries
Poor biomechanics is the single most likely cause of injury. The main biomechanical causes of running injuries are either over pronation or under pronation. These contributory factors are discussed in more detail in our biomechanics section but take a quick look at the videos below to see the biomechanical forces in action in the under and over pronator. Its not hard to see why running injuries occur.
Tight muscle groups
Tight muscles can be a major cause of running injuries. If an athlete is prone to injury then one of the main things that should be addressed is tight muscle groups. On this site you will find all the stretching exercises needed to help prevent injury. Stretching regimes are included on each individual running injury page. Below is an example of one of our stretches.
Hold each exercise 30 seconds at a gentle stretch. Do not bounce!
|Frequency:||3 sets 10 repetitions/exercise, 5-7 days per week progressing to 3 sets of 15|
Begin eccentric exercise program 7-10 days after pain has subsided
Start with toes pointed, giving resistance through the theraband, slowly allow your foot into dorsiflexion (heel down. toes up).
Warning: There should be no pain when doing this exercise. If there is stop!
Extrinsic causes of running injuries
Discussed in more detail on our running advice pages. Worn footwear is one of the leading causes of running injury, a close second behind the intrinsic causes discussed before. A running shoe is designed to be worn for anywhere between 5-700 miles dependent on the size of the runner. Once a running shoe has worn the shock absorbing properties of the materials that make up the sole deteriorate and the over all stability of the shoe decreases. The combination of the two can increase the risks of running injuries.
High impact forces
Running on hard surfaces such as concrete can increase the chance of injury. The easiest way to treat this is with a shock absorbing insole and good running shoes.
Over training & poor warm up
Increasing training too quickly is a sure way to cause injury. Take things slowly and ensure you are warmed up properly before exercising.