Running Injuries

Running Injuries


Article by J.Miller, Z.Russell, A.Clarke


We know that running gives you both pain and joy. Running gets you fit and keeps the weight down. It clears your mind. It works your body. We also know how much an injury can slow you down, both physically and mentally.

Looking back through history, we evolved to be able to run and to be able to run long distances. The human body is a mechanical masterpiece in many ways in which it can store and reuse energy. For instance, your Achilles tendon can store up to 30% of the energy your calf muscle generates, and like an elastic band, ‘snap’ back to help lift your heel off the ground as you run. These changes let our bodies run efficiently for long periods.

Why Do Runners Get Injured So Easily?

Just because we are made to run doesn’t make us great runners. For many reasons, many runners develop injuries each year.

At any one time, approximately 25% of runners will have an injury. Most of the time, it comes down to a change in workload. Given enough time, our bodies are very good at adapting to increased workloads.

If we gradually increase the distances we run, the muscle, tendon, and bone cells can respond to this increased workload and increase their ‘strength’ and endurance. If, however, we increase this workload too quickly, these structures start to break down.

Changes in workload can be due to a change in:

  • Distance / time / intensity of training
  • Terrain, e.g. more hills, harder ground
  • Footwear
  • Running technique

Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running are sometimes hard on the muscles and joints, especially if you ignore early injury signs.

How Can Physiotherapy Help Runners?

Your physio will look at several areas to determine what may have led to your injury, including:

  • your running biomechanics – using video analysis, we can slow down and look at the various components of your running technique
  • footwear advice suitable to your foot
  • training load – what is good, too much, too little
  • joint range, muscle length and overall flexibility
  • muscle strength: core controlfoot arch control, hip, knee and lower limb control.

Once your physio has identified the factors that have led to your running injury, they will look to work with you to get you back into running as soon as possible. Your running injury may require a short period of rest to allow some healing to occur, during which time cross-training may be a good option to maintain your fitness.  Your physiotherapist, who has a special interest in running injuries, is the best person to advise you.

How to Avoid Running Injuries

The best way to avoid running injuries is to prevent them. These tips can help both novice and elite runners prevent running injuries:

  • Perform an individually customised Warm-Up & Cool Down routine specific to your body’s needs.
  • Wear footwear suitable for your foot structure
  • Plan your training to avoid overtraining
  • Increase your training by no more than 10% per week

If you do develop an ache or pain, it is likely to be a running injury. If you are not sure how to best manage your running injury, please consult your physiotherapist for professional assistance.

Most Common Running Injuries in Detail

Running is one of the easiest and most popular ways to stay fit. It is also one of the easiest ways to develop an injury. Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running are sometimes hard on the muscles and joints, especially if you ignore early injury signs.

Running is one of the easiest and most popular ways to stay fit. It is also one of the easiest ways to develop an injury. Running injuries are common and often affect the hips, knees, ankles, and feet of runners. The impact and stress of running are sometimes hard on the muscles and joints, especially if you ignore early injury signs.

For professional guidance on best rehabilitating your running injury, please consult one of our running physiotherapists.

What Causes Arm Pain?

Arm pain and injuries are widespread. Arm pain can occur as a result of either sudden, traumatic or repetitive overuse. The causes can be related to sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use.

Arm pain can be a local injury, musculoskeletal injury or could even be referred from nerves in your neck (cervical radiculopathy). This can result in neck-arm pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-related Arm Pain

Shoulder-related Arm Pain

Elbow-related Arm Pain

Wrist-related Arm Pain

Hand-related Arm Pain

Muscle-related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder painwrist pain and elbow pain.

Referred Arm Pain

As mentioned earlier, arm pain can be referred to from another source. Cervical radiculopathy is a common source of referred arm pain. Cervical radiculopathy will not respond to treatment where you feel the arm pain. However, it will respond positively to treatment at the source of the injury (e.g. your neck joints).

Professional assessment from a health practitioner skilled in diagnosing both spinal-origin and local-origin (muscle and joint) injuries (e.g. your physiotherapist) is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment directed at the arm pain source.

Arm Pain has Diverse Causes.

The causes of your arm pain can be extensive and varied. Due to this diversity, your arm pain should be assessed by a suitably qualified health practitioner to attain an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and implementation specific to your arm pain.

What Arm Pain is Associated with a Heart Attack?

Left-arm pain can be an early sign of a life-threatening cardiac issue. Based on this, a professional medical assessment that involves an accurate history, symptom analysis, physical examination and diagnostic tests to exclude a potential heart attack is important to exclude this potentially life-threatening source of arm pain.

For more information, please consult with your health practitioner, call an ambulance on 000, or visit a hospital emergency department to put your mind at ease.

Good News. Most Arm Pain is NOT Life-Threatening.

Luckily, life-threatening arm pain is far less likely than a local musculoskeletal injury. Arm pain caused by a localised arm muscle, tendon or joint injury should be assessed and confirmed by your health practitioner before commencing treatment.

Arm Pain Prognosis

The good news is that arm pain, and injury will normally respond very favourably to medical or physiotherapy intervention when early professional assessment and treatment is sought. Please do not delay in consulting your healthcare practitioner if you experience arm pain.

Common Arm Pain Treatments

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most arm injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy or medical care, allowing you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.

Muscle Pain Injuries

Myalgia, or muscle pain, can have many sources. Here are some of the more common sources of your muscle pain. Please click the links for more information.

Muscle Strains By Region

Neck & Back:



Haematoma-related Myalgia

Fatigue-related Myalgia

Systemic Causes of Myalgia

More Information: Myalgia

Common Treatments for Running Injuries

Treatment for your running injury may include:

  • massage and/or dry needling to help improve muscle length and reduce pain
  • a stretching programme for muscle length
  • joint mobilisation for stiff joints
  • strapping to offload the injury and improve biomechanics
  • specific exercises to help strengthen weakened muscles at the foot, knee, hip and trunk, and core
  • working with a podiatrist for an orthotic prescription if required, and
  • working with your running coach to discuss your training regime.


FAQs Running Injuries

Common Causes - Knee Pain

Knee pain can have many origins from local injury, referred pain, biomechanical issues and systemic issues. While knee pain can appear simple to the untrained eye, a thorough assessment is often required to ascertain the origin of your symptoms. The good news is that once a definitive diagnosis is determined, most knee pain quickly resolves with the correct treatment and rehabilitation.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Kneecap Pain

Knee Arthritis

Knee Tendon Injuries

Muscle Injuries

Knee Bursitis

Children’s Knee Conditions

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Knee Surgery

For specific information regarding your knee pain, please seek the assistance of a healthcare professional with a particular interest in knee condition, such as your physiotherapist.

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