Run, Do Not Walk, to EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region for Expert Sports Medicine Care
Professional and recreational athletes may play different sports that require different skill sets, but they all require one similar factor: endurance.
And, what is one of the best exercises to train and build endurance? Running.
Running is one of America’s most popular forms of exercise, with 18.1 million Americans registering for road races in 2018.
While running is a simple form of fitness, it still puts a ton of stress on various joints in the body. Common running injuries can occur anywhere on the body, including the hip, knee, leg, ankle, foot, and even spine.
Evidence suggests that 40% to 50% of runners experience injuries yearly.
In an effort to decrease running injuries, the Sports Medicine Specialists at EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region have compiled a list of common endurance running injuries to help educate and prevent running injuries. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians have worked extensively with a number of professional and recreational athletes, allowing them to gain an expert-level understanding of the injuries, treatments, and prevention techniques surrounding endurance running.
Six Common Endurance Running Injuries
Although there are various injuries that can be sustained associated with endurance running, we are going to take an in-depth look at the six most common, which include:
1. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
What It Is
Also known as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee,” this is a broad term used to describe pain in the patella (kneecap). It is commonly found in athletes (particularly women and young adults), but it can also occur in nonathletes as well. The condition occurs when nerves sense pain in the soft tissues and bone surrounding the kneecap.
There are two common causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome:
Activities that put chronic stress on the knee (such as running)
- Patellar Malalignment
Abnormal tracking of the kneecap in the trochlear groove
- Dull, aching pain surrounding the kneecap
- Emphasized pain with knee movement
- Sounds of popping and/or cracking with knee movement
2. Iliotibial (IT) Band Friction Syndrome
What It Is
This is an overuse injury of the connective tissues located on the outer thigh and knee. The IT Band is a thick band of tissue that starts in the hip, runs down the outer thigh, crosses over the knee, and attaches to the shin. In a healthy knee, the IT band glides across the knee with no pain because of a sac or bursa.
If the sac or bursa is not working properly, the IT band will rub against the bone of the knee joint, causing pain and inflammation.
As stated above, IT band friction syndrome is an overuse injury commonly found in long-distance runners. The risk of IT band friction syndrome increases in athletes who use poor form, have limited flexibility, or have mechanical imbalances in the body.
- Lateral knee pain
- Sensation of tingling (pins and needles)
- Sound of snapping or popping in the knee
3. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome
What It Is
Also known as “shin splints,” medial tibial stress syndrome is the inflammation of the tendons, muscles, and bone tissue surrounding the tibia (shinbone).
This is another overuse injury typically found in endurance runners. The risk for medial tibial stress syndrome increases in those with poor exercise form, improper equipment, flat feet, or abnormally rigid foot arches.
Sharp and/or dull pain along the inner edge of the tibia, which can be exacerbated by stress, exercise, or direct contact.