Common Running Injuries

Have some pain from running? Here are some common running injuries and discomforts and their associated causes, symptoms and possible treatments.

Plantar fasciitis

Painful inflammation of the plantar fascia (the band of connective tissue connecting the heel bone to the forefoot bones).

  • Causes include: Overuse, improperly fitting shoes, tight calves and/or achilles tendons, being overweight, overpronation, and high or low arches.
  • Symptoms Include: Pain and/or tenderness in the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot.
  • Treatments Include: Applying ice, stretch, take an anti-inflammatory drug, or wearing a night splint when sleeping.

Shin splints

A painful feeling in the lower leg, around or in the tibia.

  • Causes include: Stress fractures, overpronation, a radical increase in exercise intensity, or a sudden change in exercise surface (soft to hard).
  • Symptoms Include: Pain and/or tenderness in the shins.
  • Treatments Include: Rest, applying ice to the stressed area throughout the day and before exercise, wrap the affected areas with kinesiology tape or compression for extra support, stretch and strengthening the muscles in the lower legs, purchasing good and appropriate footwear and running on softer surfaces.


Inflammation of the tendon. Can often be painful.

  • Causes include: Overuse of the affected area, poor stretching or conditioning, poor posture, and excessive impact.
  • Symptoms Include: Pain, swelling, and tenderness of the affected area.
  • Treatments Include: R-I-C-E (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate), apply heat when swelling has disappeared. Stretch and strengthen the affected area.


Fluid-filled bumps on the skin that often look like bubbles.

  • Causes include: Improper fit and excessive friction, especially with moist material (wet socks or shoes)
  • Symptoms Include: Accumulation of fluid in one or multiple spots under the skin.
  • Treatments Include: Not popping the blister unless it interferes with your daily activities too much. Popping a blister can risk the chance of an infection, which can slow healing, among other things.

Muscle soreness or stiffness

An aching pain from contracting the muscles.

  • Causes include: Overuse of the affected muscles, muscle damage
  • Symptoms Include: Pain and tenderness in the affected muscles.
  • Treatments Include: Stretch the affected muscles gently, exercising at a lower intensity, and/or applying heat.

Patellofemoral Syndrome (Knee Pain)

Often a dull, aching pain surrounding the patella (kneecap). Can lead to chondromalacia or iliotibial band syndrome.

  • Causes include: The patella in an abnormal position, tightness or weakness in the muscles surrounding the patella (often the muscles in the front and back thighs), overpronation, abnormal biomechanics, “bowed” legs, and excessive exertion
  • Symptoms Include: Aching in front, around, or under the patella (kneecap). Can feel like a grinding or clicking sensation. A buckling or locking of the knee may also occur.
  • Treatments Include: Strengthening exercises such as squats, hip adductors and abductors.