3 Common Injuries In Long-Distance Runners

Apr 08, 2024
 3 Common Injuries In Long-Distance Runners

Long-distance runners put unique stresses on their bodies, especially legs, ankles, and knees. Read to learn more about common sports injuries for runners.

Running long distances is a great way to stay fit and healthy. However, the pressure on your body, especially your lower body, while running can also result in some common runners’ sports injuries.

At Burlingame Orthopedics, we’re here to help ensure your workout routine or training plan goes smoothly without needing time to recover from an injury. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Han heads our team of sports medicine experts.

Here are three of the most common sports injuries we see in runners at our Burlingame, California practice, as well as more information about what you can do to protect yourself and stay running without pain or dysfunction.

1. Shin splints

Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, this type of pain is very common for runners. Shin splints often affect individuals who are just getting started with running or are ramping up the intensity of their routines.

Your shinbone, or tibia, runs along the front of your lower leg. Tissues and tendons attach to your shinbone. When you run for a long time, repetitive stress affects this part of your body. Ongoing pulling and friction can lead to tissue irritation, bone inflammation, and even stress fracturing of your shinbone.

Shin splints cause radiating sensations of pain along the front of your shinbone. Your risk for this condition goes up if you run on uneven ground, have flat feet, or run in old or unsupportive shoes. Warm up and stretch thoroughly before running to protect yourself from shin splints. Make sure your shoes support your feet while still allowing plenty of flexibility.

2. Runner’s knee

As the name of this condition makes clear, runners put a lot of stress on their knees. Medically known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, a runner’s knee occurs due to repetitive stress around or underneath your kneecap or patella. In some cases, your kneecap can even become dislocated! Runner’s knee can also harm the cartilage that cushions your kneecap.

This condition often starts to impact you if you start running harder over longer distances. In order to reduce your risk of knee pain and joint damage, you should gradually scale up your workouts or training plan. This helps your body adjust to more intense athletic demands.

3. Achilles tendonitis

Another part of your body that can suffer from repetitive stress related to long-distance running is your Achilles tendon. This major tendon runs from your calf muscle to your heel bone and helps you raise your heel and push off from the ground. Friction and stress from running can cause inflammation in this tendon, resulting in Achilles tendonitis.

After you develop this condition, Achilles tendonitis pain symptoms affect you even when you’re inactive. Your pain symptoms worsen without treatment. To allow full recovery, you may need rest, physical therapy, icing therapy, or support with pain management. In some severe cases, you may need surgical intervention for Achilles tendonitis.

If you suffer from one of these common runner’s injuries or another type of sports injury, contact our team immediately. Delaying treatment may worsen your overall outcomes and, if anything, increase the amount of time you’re forced to rest.

To keep your body running well without troublesome stress injuries, consult with the experts at Burlingame Orthopedics. You can schedule an appointment by calling us today or requesting one online now