Running can be one of the most fun, efficient, and rewarding ways to lose weight or stay in shape. It can also put a lot of stress on your body. Whether you are new to the sport, or a professional marathoner you need to about these common injuries.

Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), most commonly referred to as runner’s knee causes pain under and around the kneecap. As you can tell by its name runners are at a higher risk of developing this injury. The cause is due to load impact while the knee is bent. Running uphill or up a flight of stairs can increase your risk.

Try doing lateral side steps to help strengthen your glute and hip muscles. More strength in these areas will prevent the femur from rotating toward the patella and causing pain.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscles. During repetitive movements, the tendon can become inflamed and tight. Achilles tendonitis also occurs when a person increases their workout intensity to fast.

If Achilles tendonitis has you sidelined, try calf-strengthening exercises. You will also want to stretch the calf and Achilles before and after your workouts to help regain and increase the flexibility of the tendon. Here is more information relating to injuries of the Achilles tendon.

Shin Splints

If you are dealing with pain along your shinbone, you know how unpleasant shin splints can be. Shin splints are caused when too much stress is put on the shinbone and the connective tissue around the area. Runners are especially at risk of developing this painful injury due to their repetitive load baring strides.

To avoid shin splints, make sure your shoes have adequate arch support and enough shock-absorption for your runs. You might also consult with a physical therapist to learn how to properly strengthen and balance the muscles in the lower leg.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone. The foot and leg bones are more susceptible due to their load bearing nature. Anyone can have a stress fracture at any time, but runners are at a higher risk due to the repetitive impact on the lower body. This injury can cause serious problems if it goes unnoticed.

To help avoid stress fracture, make sure you gradually progress through your workout. If you are starting a new or higher intensity workout, start slowly and work your way up. You might also try cross-training. Ride a bike a couple times each week or do laps in the pool.

It is important to listen to your body. If you suspect you have an injury, you should seek medical attention. The sooner you remedy the situation, the sooner you can get back to your normal running routine.