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  • Sarah Morton - Physio

Running Injuries 101

The most common running injuries can put an abrupt halt to your training and cause ongoing frustration. But if you recognise your injury early, and act quickly, you can stay on track.

We have compiled our Top 3 Running Injuries to help you do just that - catch an injury in its early stages and keep yourself running.

1. Runners Knee

What it is.

Pain in the front of the knee, around the knee cap. The pain can be sharp and stabbing, or often is an ache that occurs as the miles increase. Your knee might be painful when walking down stairs, or when fully squatting. Also pain can increase when you have to sit with your knees bent. This condition is also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.


Runners Knee has been linked to poor thigh muscle control and endurance, pronation of the feet, tighness in hamstrings and/or ITB, weak gluteal muscles, and increasing mileage or hill running.

What to do.

Your first action should be to reduce mileage, or stop running to let your pain settle. Ice the front of your knee for 15 minutes, 3 times a day. Start stretching your hamstrings and quadriceps more thoroughly.

Check the condition of your running shoes. If they are old, or if the cushioning in the heel or arch looks compressed it might be time to replace them.

Start a strengthening program for your gluteal (buttock) muscles, and improve your single leg dip strength.

2. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome. (ITBFS)

What is it?

Pain on the outer side of your knee. The pain can start as an ache, but can build to a very sharp pain. Usually there is no one incident that starts the pain off. Pain is worst when running, particularly as the knee bends at about 30 degrees. If it progresses, walking will also become painful.

In this condition, the strong band down the outside of the thigh (the Iliotibial Band) is rubbing on the outside of the knee bone, causing friction and inflammation. Every time the band rubs over the outer knee bone, (ie every step) pain is felt.


Definitely linked to poor gluteal muscle control (hip strength), increased mileage, and reduced foot control.

What to do.

Ice the outside of the knee, where you feel the pain.

Start a gluteal strength program.

Use a foam roller to reduce tension in the ITB.

Upgrade your shoes if they are getting warn.

Consider insoles for arch support if your feet tend to roll in.

3. Shin Splints.

What are they?

Otherwise known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), shin splints are an irritation of the attachment of the lower inner calf muscles onto the tibia (shin bone). This is an injury due to repetitive use, where the muscle attachment becomes irritated, inflamed, and very painful. You will feel very painful points when you press the inner edge of your shin. The muscles involved are the Soleus and Tibialis Posterior.


As an over-use injury, the causes include increasing mileage, uneven terrain, and running on hard surfaces. Other factors for the runner include a pronating foot type (rolling in on arches) and a weak hip which allows the knee to turn in whilst running.

What to do?

Use ice in your recovery. Adjust your training program to reduce mileage and allow for recovery. Check you shoes and perhaps consider insoles. Strengthen your foot muscles to improve your arch control, and strengthen your gluteals/hips to ensure you are not letting your knees roll inwards while running.

our advice - Act early!

With any of these injuries the bottom line is to Act Early. Dont keep running through pain. These pains are your warning that your body is not coping with what you are asking it to do.

3 points to remember.

1. Stop if it hurts, and settle the pain and swelling.

2. Get a diagnosis and follow the treatment plan.

3. Seek help if your self management is not working.

Get in touch with us with any questions!

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