6 Running Pains —And How To Treat Them So They Never Come Back
See ya later, achy shins!
Got some aches and pains from running? Here’s how to determine just what damage you’ve done…
When pain gets in your path…
As any runner knows, running is a lifestyle. Unfortunately, injuries have been known to sideline as many as 75 percent of runners each year. That’s a whole bunch of unhappy people… That’s why we’ve sourced the ultimate guide to your ache or pain, so you can remedy it the right way – and ensure it doesn’t return to haunt you the next time you hit the trail or the streets.
When is running pain a problem?
Some pain is normal when you first start running (remember those first few weeks, guys?), but look out for things that change how you move, says sports doctor and marathon-runner Dr Jordan Metzl. “If you’re running differently because your knees or hamstrings hurt, have it checked out,” he advises.
And see your doctor if you have running pains that lasts longer than a few days or keeps you up at night – especially if you spot it on this chart of common culprits. From runner’s knee (or the more scientific patello-femoral pain syndrome, a soreness under your kneecap) to shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome (a lesser-known syndrome that involves pain on the outside of the knee), good old plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and the dreaded stress fracture, we’ve got you covered.
1/ Runner’s Knee
Spot it: Soreness under your kneecap
Likely culprit: Weak or inflexible hips or quads
Prevent it: Strength-train twice a week; foam-roll your hips and thighs.
Treat it: Ice for 15 minutes post-run; take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory.
2/ Shin Splints
Spot it: Achy pain in the lower legs, usually the inside.
Likely culprit: Too much training too soon – or a quirk in your body structure – overloads your bones and muscles.
Prevent it: Build up slowly; focus on a quick turnover or cadence (180 steps per minute).
Treat it: Cross-train and ice. More stable shoes may prevent inward rolling. NB: see a physiotherapist if you have pain in the front of your shinbone.
Spot it: Pain on the outside of your knee soon after starting a run.
Likely culprit: Inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue that runs from your hip to just below your knee.
Prevent it: Stabilise your hips by training your core and butt.
Treat it: Foam-rolling just above your knee for three minutes on each side daily. NB: Visible swelling or a clicking sound.
4/ Plantar Fasciitis
Spot it: Heel pain, notably first thing in the morning.
Likely culprit: Connective-tissue inflammation on the bottom of your foot.
Prevent it: Foam-roll your calves; strengthen your feet by wearing less supportive shoes when not running.
Treat it: Ice; use a golf or tennis ball to massage the bottom of your foot.
5/ Achilles Tendinitis
Spot it: Ache or pain on the tendon behind your ankle.
Likely culprit: Tight calves pull on the tendon.
Prevent it: Foam-roll your calves; strengthen them with eccentric raises (stand on a step or curb, then lift and lower your heels).
Treat it: Cross-train, ice and anti-inflammatories. NB: crunchiness or a lump.
6/ Stress fracture
Spot it: Pain in the lower leg, foot, shin, or groin that doesn’t decrease.
Likely culprit: Stress leads to a hairline bone break.
Prevent it: Build up slowly; make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D.
Treat it: NB always see a doctor for a fracture.
New to running? Why not try our beginner’s guide on how to lose weight with running? Or hit the trails with our beginner’s guide to trail running! Already a seasoned pavement pounder? Kick up your performance with this running woman’s ab workout.