Common Running Injuries and BIG NEWS!!

With the running season upon us, many individuals are starting to head outside to get a little physical activity. Whether you simply like to jog or run, or you’re training for that upcoming race, running is one of the most popular forms of physical activity.

Many of us have spent the winter on a treadmill and are dying to get outside for that first cool run of the season. Others have had an overwhelmingly busy winter and have pushed running aside all together. Some are starting to take their health a little more seriously this year and have decided to take up running.


With the change in our level of activity, we need to make sure that our bodies are ready to take the brunt of running. Running may not seem like it would be overly challenging on the body, however, due to its’ repetitive nature, we need to give running the respect that it deserves.

Most injuries are classified as overuse. An overuse injury is a type of muscle or joint injury which occurs due to repetitive damage. With exercising, damage is occurring at a microscopic level, this is how we develop and become stronger. When the tissue is subject to repetitive stresses and repetitive microscopic damage, it requires some amount of time to repair itself and get stronger. This amount of time differs between people and even between areas of the body!! When there is not enough time between training sessions or the amount of damage that occurs during one single training session is too great, overuse injuries occur and pain and inflammation can result.

Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common overuse injuries related to running:

Shin Splints:

  • Overuse injury which results in a diffuse, dull ache which can be felt in the shin
  • Inflammation may be present through the muscle, tendon and bone tissue around the shin bone due to increases in stresses through that area
  • Pain is worse with activity, especially running and jumping. As the condition progresses, you may have pain at rest
  • Typically, pain is near the middle to bottom of the shin, as shown below

Shin Splints Pain.jpg

Achilles Tendinopathy:

  • Usually a gradual onset of pain at the bottom of the Achilles tendon
  • There may be microscopic tearing present along the tendon from overuse which can become inflamed and cause pain
  • As the microscopic tearing heals, the tendon may become slightly thicker compared to the uninjured side
  • This condition is more common in middle aged runners
  • If mild, symptoms may be present only when running. If the condition progresses, there may be pain with every day activities as well
  • Typically, pain is located at the back of the heel and slightly up the calf, as shown below.

Achilles Tendinopathy.jpeg


Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Inflammation of the plantar fascia causing pain
  • Common overuse injury of the foot with no one cause. Contributing factors: poor footwear, poor foot biomechanics, poor training schedule compared to abilities, and many others
  •  Often feels better with activity once it is warmed up and then stiffens with any prolonged activity
  • As the plantar fascia heels, it tends to tighten, causing the worse pain upon standing after prolonged periods of sitting/sleeping
  • Typically, the pain is located on the bottom of the foot, under the heel, as shown below.


plantar fasciitis.jpg

So I know what you’re thinking … You just signed up for the Ancaster Mill Race, since it’s the 35th anniversary and all, and you were hoping to go from sitting on your couch all winter, to putting up a respectable time.

Keep in mind, we want to avoid “too much too soon”. If you were fairly sedentary over the winter, your tissues have probably adapted to that amount of work. Just like you wouldn’t try to lift 500 lbs. without training for it, you shouldn’t ask your body to run for 2 hours without training up to it. Even low loads, like those experienced during striding, can be damaging if we ask our body to do it too many times.

The potential for these injuries shouldn’t deter you from training. Now that you know the signs and symptoms of these injuries, you’ll know when it may be appropriate to take a rest day. Remember, overuse injuries happen when there is not enough time between training bouts to recover. If you can catch an issue early, and take the appropriate steps, whether that means taking a rest day, or decreasing the amount of training you’re doing (i.e. shorter or slower run), then you should be able to keep training. In an ideal situation, you shouldn’t increase your training by greater than 10% per week. That being said, develop a plan to work up to the 5km or 10km distance without breaking that rule. Small increases in workloads are best and are easiest on your body.


Lastly, to prevent these issues, it is very important to stretch the muscles that are being used in any given exercise. In the case of running, you would want to include all the muscles of the lower body. After a bout of exercise, muscles tend to tighten up as they recover. You want to make sure those muscles stay nice and mobile so that they are ready for the next training session! Hold your stretches for around 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.

If you're still not having any luck with decreasing your pain, come see the Physiotherapists at the Foot-Knee-Back Clinic for some help! 



The Foot Knee Back Clinic will be providing medical coverage for the Ancaster Mill Race on June 5th, 2018!! 

Our practitioners will be roaming around before, during, and after the race to make sure everyone is safe! Keep your eyes out for us in case you have any questions or concerns at the race! We're happy to help! 

We are so excited for this event and we hope you are too! 

Check out their website and register to participate in either their 5km or 10km race!

Happy training!



Courtney PostmaComment