Running InjuriesMarathon training is in full swing and you're on track with your running goals. You've got all your races lined up for the year, and then it happens. A dull ache, then pain in your foot that begins to intensify with every step...

Nobody likes to get injured, especially when it stops you from competing in that next race, but running injuries don't need to leave you sidelined. Many running injuries can be prevented.

If you are experiencing any of the below conditions talk to your podiatrist right away about what you can do to prevent common running injuries.

Plantar Fasciitis: Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot problems for athletes and runners, and the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition that causes inflammation in the tendon that makes up the arch of the foot.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include; a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of the heel; heel pain when you first get out of bed in the morning, or with the first few steps after sitting. Plantar fasciitis heel pain is also typically more painful after exercise rather than during.  Plantar fasciitis may be caused by:

  • Overtraining
  • Wearing worn out shoes
  • Foot anatomy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of arch support
  • Occupation

Treatment for plantar fasciitis includes: supporting the arch of the foot by wearing supportive shoes, insoles, custom foot orthotics, foot and calf stretches, anti-inflammatories, and strengthening exercises.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It runs up the back of the leg and attaches the heel bone to the calf muscle. The Achilles tendon can become injured from overuse and repetitive overstretching of the tendon.  Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of tendon and is often caused from overuse, the weakening of the tendon and increasing workout intensity and running miles too fast.

Risk factor for Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Tight calves
  • Anatomy or Structure
  • Muscle weakness
  • Improper footwear


Achilles tendonitis symptoms include a dull ache or sharp pain, low in the calf or pain just above the heel bone. Achilles tendonitis pain typically increases with exercise and may become swollen, red and even painful to touch.

Ignoring Achilles tendon pain can weaken the tendon over time putting you at risk of permanent scaring and even tendon rupture. Treatment for Achilles tendonitis include: rest, ice, stretching, heel lifts, strengthening exercises and custom foot orthotics.

Shin Splints

Pain in your shin when running, otherwise know as shin splints is a common problem among beginning runners, athletes, and people with flat feet.

Symptoms of shin splints include pain and tenderness along the inside or outside of the shin bone during exercise, especially running. You may even feel the pain and tenderness in your shins after you exercise. Shin splints are caused by the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the shin bone due to:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Overuse (overtraining)
  • Overpronation
  • Lack of arch support
  • Running in worn out shoes

If you have shin pain while exercising DO NOT try to run through the pain. Walk and decrease your mileage immediately.  You should never ignore shin pain!

IT Band Syndrome

This is one of runner's most notorious overuse injuries. The iliotibial band is a thick strip of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh, from your hip – to your knee, and functions to facilitate movement of your lower extremities. Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome include severe pain along the outside of the knee when running. The knee pain may not start till mile 3 or 5 or may suddenly come on when running downhill.

IT Band Syndrome is caused by the IT Band rubbing across the femoral epicondyle as you run. This rubbing of the tendon across the bone creates friction causing pain and inflammation of the tendon. If IT Band symptoms are ignored inflammation can cause permanent scaring to develop.

The Iliotibial Band Syndrome can be a difficult running injury to treat but with the help from the right sports medicine specialist can get you running pain-free. Talk to your podiatrist right away if you have knee pain when running.

Knee Pain

Knee pain is common injury among runners and is often caused by overuse or from biomechanics. Two of the most common knee problems among runners are Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) and Patellar Tendonitis.

Runner's Knee also known Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is caused when the patella or knee cap, doesn't track properly irritating the femoral groove. Continued running when the patella is not tracking properly will eventually result in pain with bending of the knee. 

Patellar Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon that runs from the bottom of the knee to the front of the tibia. This condition generally affects athletes whose sports requires repeated jumping, such as basketball players.

Increasing your mileage too fast, ignoring minor aches and pains, running in worn out running shoes and not strengthening other parts of your body can put you at risk of knee pain as well as a host of other common but preventable running injuries.

If you are experiencing any of the above conditions talk to podiatrist. Get the right treatment the first from Richard Graves, DPM, running and sports medicine specialists at Sol Foot & Ankle Centers in Long Beach, CA. Call 562-433-0478.