Common runners' injuries
Tom Pazik, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine. He practices with Banner Mountain Vista Orthopaedics in Greeley, Colo.
Question: How can I avoid some of the most common runners' injuries?
Answer: Running is great exercise but it is important to take precautions so you can get the most out of it.
- Plantar fasciitis – an overuse injury, resulting in heel pain. Often worse in the morning, and with running. Symptoms usually improve with rest, stretching, shoe wear modifications or orthotics.
- Stress fracture – an incomplete fracture caused by repetitive stress exceeding the body’s ability to repair the injury. Symptoms include pain with running or even walking. Common sites include the tibia and metatarsals of the foot as well as many other bones. Treatment requires rest and a medical evaluation.
- IT (Iliotibial) band friction syndrome – characterized by pain on the outside of the knee worse with running or other activities. Without treatment, pain may intensify over time and keep you from running. Treatment includes rest, ice, elevation and stretching. In severe cases where other treatments fail, surgery may be needed.
- Runner’s knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome) – pain in the front of the knee caused by overuse or training errors and/or a poorly aligned kneecap. Symptoms include discomfort around the kneecap, worse with running, squatting, kneeling, stairs, climbing, or prolonged sitting. Initial treatment includes relative rest by cutting back running mileage and intensity, physical therapy, home exercises, cross training, and shoe wear optimization.
- Tight hamstrings/tight calves – a consistent stretching program with proper warm up and warm down can be helpful