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Running is a common athletic activity, not only as part of sports like soccer, football and baseball, but as a sport of its own. Despite how common it is, the repetitive movements and repeated impact on the ground involved with running means that there are ample opportunities for injury to occur while running. Here, our Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre physiotherapists explain 5 of the most common injuries sustained while running and how to identify them.

Whether running just for pleasure or pushing yourself to train for a race, you are bound to encounter some aches, pains and twinges along the way. And while avoiding this kind of pain is ideal, it isn't always realistic. The key to preventing injuries, however, isn't about avoiding the pain altogether. It is about knowing what to do and how to react when you do encounter concerning pain during or shortly after a run. 

Knowing how to identify potential injuries and working with a physiotherapist who is versed in sports medicine to respond appropriately will help to avoid any acute injuries which could otherwise keep your running shoes in the closet for a long time. Here are 5 different injuries to keep your eye out for while running.

1. Runner's Knee

Runner's knee is a very common injury found in runners across Canada. If you notice pain or tenderness around your kneecap when you start your run that fades as you get deeper into your exercise, you may have the beginnings of runner's knee. 

If you notice after running that this pain flares up again, especially while sitting for long periods, this may be a sign that your kneecap's cartilage is wearing down and you should seek physical therapy as soon as possible. This injury will only grow worse without proper attention.

2. Shin Splints

While less common than runner's knee, shin splints are still frequently found in runners. This injury is actually a series of small tears developing in your shin while you run and generally feels like an achy pain that runs all the way down your shins.

This injury can occur at any time but is most common after suddenly increasing the distance or frequency of your runs and in runners with flat feet. If you can walk or jump without any pain, but encounter issues with pain and tightness when you start running, see our physiotherapists for ways to correct this issue.

3. Achilles Tendinitis

Also called tendinopathy, this injury is the inflammation of your Achilles tendon—the large tendon connecting the back of your heel to your calf. Achilles tendonitis causes stiffness and pain in the area surrounding the tendon, especially during activity and in the morning. 

This injury generally occurs when you place too much stress on the tendon, either by adding too much distance to your runs, having tight calves or other repetitive strain. If you have muted pain in your heel while running but icing or other at-home remedies generally take care of it, you should contact your physiotherapist before it grows worse.

4. Plantar Fasciitis

This injury is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot called the plantar fascia. This injury usually expresses itself as significant pain in your heels, often in the first steps you take each morning. You may also notice a dull ache or bruising on your heel as the tendons and ligaments of your foot endure small tears.

You should book an appointment with a physical therapist if you notice this kind of pain in order to avoid it from becoming constant.

5. IT Band Syndrome

This syndrome expresses itself as a pain that shoots down your leg to the outside of your knee. When the iliotibial band, a ligament that runs from the outside of your thigh to your knee, thickens and begins rubbing against your knee, it becomes inflamed and causes pain which can be mistaken for a knee injury.

Often the pain from this syndrome will start when you are a kilometer or two into your run. You may be able to alleviate the pain by walking it out, but you should see our physical therapists as soon as possible to ensure you don't suffer a more severe injury.

Are you experiencing any of the above kinds of pain or discomfort while running?

Our team of physiotherapists is specially trained in sports medicine and can help you to recover.

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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