Tips to Avoid Common Running Injuries

Tips to Avoid Common Running Injuries

Posted by Roche Alexander on

Maintaining a running routine can be challenging, especially when injuries disrupt your progress. Here's a guide to help you understand and prevent the most frequent running injuries, so you can stay active without interruptions.

Recognizing The 5 Common Running Injuries

Running injuries primarily affect the legs and feet and can occur in both new and experienced runners. These injuries often develop over time due to factors like increasing mileage too quickly, improper running form, insufficient recovery, tight or weak muscles, and wearing the wrong shoes.
Here are five frequent running injuries and their signs:
1. Plantar Fasciitis: Pain at the bottom of the heel, usually felt after activity or first thing in the morning.
2. Shin Splints: Pain along the front or inner side of the lower legs that intensifies with activity.
3. Runner's Knee: Aching pain around the front of the knee, noticeable during activity or after prolonged sitting.
4. IT Band Syndrome: Aching or burning pain on the outer side of the knee, sometimes extending to the hip, usually felt during activity.
5. Stress Fracture: Persistent pain or aching in the shin or foot that worsens over time with activity.

Preventing Running Injuries

While common, these injuries are not unavoidable. Here are eight strategies to help you stay injury-free:
1. Plan and Progress Gradually
- Whether you're training for a marathon or increasing your mileage, it's important to progress slowly. Aim to increase your mileage by no more than 10% per week to avoid overloading your muscles and joints.
- Use the services of a running coach. There are many located around South Africa that we would be happy to recommend. They can help guide you through the process. Too much, too soon, is never a good thing!
2. Increase Either Speed or Distance
- Avoid increasing both your speed and distance simultaneously. Focus on one aspect at a time to prevent pushing your body too hard and risking injury.
3. Prioritize Recovery
- Proper recovery is essential to prevent injuries. This includes resting your muscles, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. For extra recovery, consider using ice and heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, massage, foam rolling, or a massage gun.
4. Distinguish Between Soreness and Injury
- It’s normal to experience muscle soreness after a run, especially if you’ve increased your distance or pace. However, sharp pain or pain that doesn’t improve after a week or two should be evaluated by a professional.
5. Incorporate Cross-Training
- Diversify your routine with activities like weight training, yoga, or Pilates. Cross-training strengthens the muscles that support your running and helps prevent overuse injuries.
6. Stretch Regularly
- Stretching helps keep your muscles flexible and reduces the risk of injury. Do a warm-up, like high knees or jumping jacks, before stretching to avoid stretching cold muscles. Stretch again after your run as part of your cooldown.
7. Wear Proper Running Shoes
- This is where we can help! Investing in quality running shoes that fit well and are suited to your running gait is essential to not only enjoying your runs more, but to ensure you are running injury free for longer. 
By following these strategies, you can enjoy running while minimizing the risk of injury. Stay active, listen to your body, and take care of yourself to keep running strong.

Need More Help? We're Here for You

Our dedicated team at is here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Whether you need advice on injury prevention, running gear, or training tips, we’re available in-store or online at Additionally, we're happy to refer you to one of the many outstanding medical professionals we work with for more specialized care. Don't hesitate to reach out – we're here to help you stay on track with your running goals.

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