Framingham Personal Trainer

common running injuries | marathon injuries

running injuries

Let's explore some common running injuries.

We can explore the not so common ones, as well.

If you happen to be a runner, of any fitness level or degree of experience, it is nearly inevitable that you'll experience a running injury at some point.

Tell us all about your running-related injuries, or ask injury-related questions here.

No matter your level of preparation or "pre-hab," injuries happen when you least expect them.

The good news is that with consistent, and appropriate, training ahead of time, an injured runner may be able to return to their favorite activities more quickly than if they hadn't been attentive to preparation beforehand.

The Most Common Running Injuries

The Kinetic Chain

kinetic chain

Our bodies are comprised of systems and components that work together to produce the many functions of which we're capable.

That's the concept behind the kinetic chain; that everything is linked together.

That's also why, for runners and other athletes, it is important to consider where injuries begin.

Sometimes, the site of pain isn't actual the area that may be causing the pain.

In other words, pain can be a symptom, rather than the cause.

We don't expect you to self-diagnose. We're big fans of making sure that we, and our athletes and clients, seek appropriate and qualified medical diagnosis where applicable.

However, it is fun (in our opinion) to become sort of a human anatomy detective, searching for adjustments to fitness program design that may help to address movement dysfunction, or muscular imbalance, that may be contributing to discomfort.

Heel Pain from Running

It is not uncommon for a runner to express that they're experiencing heel pain running from their foot up the leg to their knee.

As mentioned, there could be lots of causes, and it is best to seek medical evaluation.

Once cleared by their physician, we usually do take a look at several areas that might help in resolving the issue, and in preventing further occurrence.

Among those, we look at:

  • Foot strike - How a runner lands during running

  • Calf muscle flexibility - Is a lack of flexibility contributing to the issue?

  • Hip mobility - Further up the chain, are restrictions in movement at the hip causing dysfunctional posture and/or movement?

  • Rest and recovery - Is the client over-training? Have they progressed too quickly in their own strength or cardiovascular programming? Are they getting enough sleep?

  • Do other stressors exist? - outside of the training environment, are there other factors to consider?
  • Ankle mobility - The ranges of motion available around the ankle joint

  • Running shoes - Are shoes being replaced often enough as they become worn down?

  • Core strength - Is weakness through the core leading to improper movement downward through the kinetic chain?

  • Overall program design - Is there harmony in their overall programming, or are there imbalances there, as well?

  • Are there resources we should include? - Are foam rolling, massage, and other forms of therapy avenues to explore?

What Then?

trx training

Even when the answers to some or all of these questions are realized, it is important to note that the following exercise prescription may work for some athletes, recreational or competitive, but not all.

We are all individuals, and respond individually to various treatments and prescriptions.

That is why following the programming that an elite athlete may have followed will not likely provide the same results for another wanting to follow in their footsteps. Their individual differences in exercise history, injury history, genetics, responses to training stimulus, and other variables are too different for the paths, and end result, to be identical.

We may have gone off on a bit of a tangent there. Let's get back to (talking about) common running injuries.

Back To Running Injury

hip pain from running

In thinking about the rest of the kinetic chain, and even for those who don't know much about human anatomy, there are several areas in which we see these common injuries.

Starting from the ground and moving up, we think of the heels, knees, hips, and lower back as some joint-specific areas that can experience pain or injury.

And, there are the muscles surrounding each of these areas, along with the connective tissues, tendons and ligaments, helping to hold us together.

Among the most common running injuries, you'll find:

  • Foot pain after running
  • Ankle pain after running
  • Running knees
  • and, more!

You may have experienced one, or some, of these common running injuries at some point. Never fun, but usually treatable, so long as you stick to the prescription of medical and/or health professionals. And, that usually means lots of rest and recovery.

Do Runners Of Different Distances Experience Different Injuries?

running sneakers

We love running all sorts of distances, from the 40 yard dash and 100 meter sprints to our love of the marathon and ultramarathon distances.

Where speeds required, energy systems required, and number of repetitions required (in training and in competition) vary greatly from one end of the spectrum to the next, injuries may occur in similar areas, though are usually of different type.

That's why you may even hear people talking about marathon injuries, not usually from the race itself, but from the training miles endured in preparation (Sidenote: is a 20-mile long run really a necessity, or only a long-held tradition? Hmm.)

What If I Got Injured While Crosstraining?


Crosstraining is supposed to be good for you, right?

Don't panic. It is good for you.

It can usually extend a runner's career, through encouraging use of varying ranges of motion, intensities, and differences in impact.

Plus, it is just fun!

Despite all that, crosstraining experiences it's own equivalent of common running injuries.

Rucking injuries, swimming injuries, and things like triathlon knee are all commonplace.

Though, as we'd mentioned, a proper program can address many of these concerns in advance of the injury, helping to improve speed of return to activity.

Suggested Reading: Allie Mac's Top 5 Cross Training Tips

Have You Experienced A Running Injury And Lived To Tell About It?

No matter your level of consistency in preparation, it is nearly inevitable that you'll experience a running injury at some point in time.

Though our advice to those who are injured is to seek appropriate consultation with a medical professional, your primary care physician, or a specialist to whom they've referred you, we know that discussion about injuries is commonplace.

So, let's pretend this is our pre-race, post-race, or in-training chat!

Tell us all about a running injury that you've experienced, how you went about addressing it, what worked well, and what you learned from it.

What was your mindset like during the time that you were injured? What was the best advice that you'd received on how to stay positive?

So long as it is not outside of our scope of practice, we'll be excited to share some of our professional insight, too!

Here are some examples of topics you might write about:

  • Knee Pain from Running Downhill.

  • Twisted Ankle from Running.

  • Lower Back and Hip Pain from Running on Roads.

  • Lower Back Pain from Running and Not Stretching.

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Plantar Fasciitis from Running 
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