Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them

runner injury

Seasoned runners, rejoice! One of the first competitions in Cuyahoga County – the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day 5K – is less than two weeks away. If the prospect of getting outside and running gets you pumped, then this message from Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland is for you: there’s nothing worse than having your passion for running come crashing down in the form of a foot or ankle injury.

Two kinds of injuries

Accidents happen. You might be resting on your front stoop after a great practice run, stand up to go inside, and twist your ankle on a misplaced brick on the sidewalk. That’s an example of an acute injury – something that happens suddenly, like a sprained ankle or a broken bone.

While runners are not strangers to acute foot and ankle injuries, overuse injuries are more common and easier to prevent. Overuse injuries come about as a result of training too fast or too far, thereby putting too much strain on some part of the foot.

Examples of overuse injuries include:

  • Stress fractures – a small crack in any of the 26 bones of the foot
  • Shin splints – pain at the front of the lower leg caused by inflammation of muscles or tendons
  • Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon such as the Achilles at the back of the heel
  • Plantar fasciitis – heel pain caused by inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot
  • Blackened toenails from repeated impact against the front of your running shoes

You can take some concrete steps to prevent overuse injuries like these. First, make sure you’re wearing the right running shoes. Runners put enormous pressure on their lower limbs and should protect them with shoes that provide excellent support. Second, replace your running shoes as soon as they wear out, after approximately 300-400 miles. Third, don’t do too much too soon. Ease into your training, increasing speed and distance gradually. Finally, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our expert podiatrists, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig Frey, when foot or ankle pain keeps you from the sport you love. For the treatment of both acute and overuse injuries, call us at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.