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Running

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From sprinting events to marathons, recreational running to professional competitions, running is a great sport in which athletes of all skill levels can participate. While new runners are more likely to be injured, 65% of all runners are injured every year1.  

Get Fit Tips from the NEBH Sports Performance Team
Preventing Injuries
Common Injuries
Injury Statistics

Get Fit Tips from the NEBH Sports Performance Team

When an injury sidelines a runner, most will do just about anything to get back on the road. The majority of the injuries we see in runners are overuse injuries (anterior knee pain, IT band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, etc.). These develop through a combination of the following factors:

  • Improper technique

  • Increase in mileage/pace too quickly

  • Insufficient rest/recovery time

  • Insufficient nutrition and hydration. Plan adequate pre and post run meals that include carbohydrates proteins, and some fats to rebuild muscles and replenish energy stores.

All these factors lead to muscle and tendon injuries and decrease performance. Proper rest and nutrition as well as a strength program that emphases hip and glute strength, core and flexibility exercises can not only help to keep those nagging injuries away, but may even help you break though to a new personal best! 

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Preventing Injuries

To help prevent injury, make sure you practice these safety tips:

  1. Take a few minutes to warm up and stretch your quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, and back before you run. For warm ups, try jumping jacks, stationary cycling, or running or walking in place for 3 to 5 minutes. Stretch before and after you run, holding each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.

  2. Stay hydrated.

  3. Replace running shoes when the tread wears out or the heels wear down. When purchasing a new pair of shoes, pick ones that are specifically for your foot type and stride pattern.

  4. Be aware of the weather conditions and plan accordingly.

  5. Participate in a conditioning course to strengthen your muscles, particularly ones statistically prone to injury.

  6. Plan your run on a level and soft surface.

  7. Rest days are just as important as training days. Give muscles time to rest and rebuild each week to avoid overuse injuries.

  8. If you are injured, do not try to push through your injury. Delaying appropriate treatment can lead to more serious problems and keep you out of the race longer.

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Common Injuries 

Hip
    • Groin Pain
    • Muscle strain or pull
    • Tendonitis

Leg & Knee
    • Hamstring pull or strain
    • Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS)
    • Runner's knee
    • Shin splints
    • Stress fracture
    • Tendonitis

Foot & Ankle
    • Achilles' tendonitis
    • Ankle sprain
    • Plantar fascitis
    • Stress fracture

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Injury Statistics

  • Only 50% of running injuries are new; the rest are recurrences of past injuries.1 

  • 50-75% of all running injuries are overuse injuries.2 

  • Common causes of overuse injuries include training errors (running frequency, distance, duration, speed, lack of leg strength and flexibility), inappropriate running terrain, and ill-fitting footwear.3

  • The average runner incurs 1 injury per every 100 hours of running.1 

  • Injuries cause runners to miss 5-10% of their workouts per year.1

  • Areas most commonly injured are the knee (42%), foot/ankle (17%), lower leg (13%), and hip/pelvis (11%).3 

While injuries are likely to occur from running, you can help mitigate the risks by taking preventative measures. Know the causes and symptoms of the most common running injuries and contact an orthopedic professional immediately if you do sustain an injury. 

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Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have any type of persistent pain, be sure to see a doctor.


1 “Sport Specific Safety Cross Country Running,” Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute.

2 “Running Injuries. A Review of the Epidemiological Literature,” van Mechelen, W.

3 “Running Fact Sheet,” Monash University Accident Research Center, last modified 2008.