In an ideal world, we could all run as much as we liked and never have to suffer any aches, strains and sprains.
Unfortunately for runners, injuries are an ever-present part of life. Whether it's just a few twinges, lingering stiffness and soreness from yesterday's run or something more serious, it seems there's always some kind of ill-effect from running.
While most running injuries are small inconveniences that don't require anything more than a bit of rest, they can be annoying - especially if they keep you off the road for longer than you'd like.
If you are a runner and suffer from any slight aches or pains, we've put together the below infographic detailing the most common running injuries so you can get a better idea about what might be troubling you. We've also added a lot more detailed information below about each type of injury.
The hamstrings are the muscles running down the back of our thighs, and are there so we can bend the knee and extend the leg. When running, it's the hamstrings that push us up hills and take the strain when we kick for the finish line. In short, they are essential to running and when a problem occurs, we know about it.
Hamstring injuries like strains and pulls typically occur due to the muscles being weak - either because they are too long or too short. That's why, strange as it seems, people who are very flexible can be more at risk of a hamstring injury because their over-stretched muscles are more vulnerable when put under the strain of running. Those of us who are very unflexible (e.g. can't touch our toes without a lot of discomfort) are also at risk due to having shorter and tighter hamstring muscles.
A lot of runner's can also find themselves with imbalanced muscles e.g. their quadriceps dominate the hamstrings, which can result in an injury.
The iliotibial, or 'IT', band is situated on the outside of the thigh and runs from the hip to the knee. When running the knee flexes and extends, which can sometimes cause the IT band to rub against the femur. The resulting friction can cause irritation ans inflammation - particularly if you run downhill. Recent studies suggest that Iliotibial Band Syndrome could be responsible for as much as 12% of all running-related injuries.
Those most at risk of IT Band Syndrome are runners who overpronate (rolling the foot inwards on landing), suffer from weak gluteal or hip abductor muscles or those who have a discrepancy in their leg-length
The bane of all runners! Runner's knee, or to give it it's scientific name: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PTFS), refers to the irritation of the cartilage residing underneath the kneecap (patella). Research suggests that as much as 40% of all running injuries are knee injuries.
Runner's knee is usually at it's most pronounced during or after a long run, following a prolonged period of sitting or while going down stairs or hills.
The Achilles is the tendon that joins the two main calf muscles to the heel. If put under too much stress, the Achilles tendon can tighten and become irritated - which is known as tendinitis.
Achilles Tendinitis is believed to cause around 11% of running injuries, and is more common with runners who have weak and/or tight calves and those who have increased their training schedule dramatically (particularly on hills).
The term "shinsplints" refers to a dull and achy pain felt on the shin bone, or "tibia". The scientific term for shinsplints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, and it makes up a good 15% of all running-related injuries.
Shinsplints commonly affects runners who may be returning to running after a long layoff, and new runners. It is usually a sign that you have over-stretched yourself and tried to run too hard too soon. It can also affect those that wear running shoes that are too old, or are not right for their foot-type (e.g high arches of flat feet).
Unlike the acute fractures that tend to happen after an impact accident like a slip or fall, stress fractures tend to develop over time as a result of ongoing stress and strain on a bone.
Stress fractures most commonly occur on the shins (tibia bone), the feet (metatarsals) or on the heels (calcaneus). They can develop into one of the most serious and long-lasting running injuries and are responsible for 6% of running-related injuries.
The foot is naturally the area where a lot of running injuries occur, as every stride we take puts a force on each foot that is several times more than our own body weight.
Perhaps the most common foot injury is known as Plantar fasciitis, which is caused by small tears in the tendons and ligaments that run the length of your feet and connect the toes to the heels. The resulting pain usually manifests as a dull ache (like a bruise being pressed) running across the arch of the foot of along the bottom of the heel. Those who suffer from Plantar fasciitis usually report that the pain is at its most pronounced first thing in the morning.
Full library of resources to learn more about the different types of personal injury and the claims processPersonal Injury Resources