Running Injuries A-Z

This is the complete RW guide to running injuries

Garmin fēnix

If you want to know more about running injuries, you're in the right place. For the most common injury warning signs be sure to read upon our expert guide on how to head off injuries at the earliest stage.

This is an archive of Bodyworks, a series of columns that ran for two years in Runner's World UK. It was written by RW Medical Advisor Dr Patrick Milroy, who has been at the centre of UK sports medicine for longer than even he can remember, and is team doctor of the English Athletic Association.

Bodyworks kicked off by explaining the basics of the runner's anatomy. It then gave a definitive guide to the universal running first-aid principle of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). And then came the injury guide:

Foot Injuries

Ankle-area Injuries

Lower-leg injuries

Knee injuries

Upper-leg injuries

Hip injuries

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The Top 10 Routes To Injury

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After having a winter break from running (ahem...)I started easing back into morning runs. Only thing is, one month later, my lower back is killing me! I am not sure if this is related to the running, or to my shocking chair at my desk and equally bad sitting posture. Have tried improving core body strength with situps and curls but alas, I am still really uncomfortable.
Any suggestions on how to ease it? PS - it is fine and dandy once I am actually up and moving!

Posted: 26/03/2003 at 13:31

oops - just seen the other post today...
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 13:32

try yoga first thing in the morning in bed - lay on your back and rotate your hips while stretching your legs away from you, then bring each knee tight up to your chest while keeping the other leg stretched out. Finally turn round and roll up into a ball, while stretching your arms out above your head. It balances your spine and gets you ready to get out of bed.
Posted: 02/04/2003 at 14:29

Could try acupuncture once a month to release the muscles, or a good sports massage
Posted: 02/04/2003 at 15:29

Go and see a podiatrist. Your running gait may have changed and that may cause many other problems including back pain!
Posted: 02/04/2003 at 21:49

Sounds like sciatica to me - but I'm no expert.
Sit cross-legged and flop forward with your arms outstretched. Do not tense anything - just lie like that taking deep breaths for a few minutes to stretch lower back muscles.
Also - lie on your back with arms outstretched (kinda like crucifix position...sorry for description), cross right leg ontop of left one (slightly bent at knee) and turn head to the opposite side, i.e. if crossing right leg over left, look left.
Keep palms down and keep shoulders on the ground, again take deep breaths to stretch lower back muscles.
Posted: 24/07/2003 at 11:56

My lower back aches when running if I have a lay off of more than 6 weeks or so.

Soon goes though.
Posted: 24/07/2003 at 20:20

Does anyone experience stitch over the site of an operation scar? Any ideas as to why this might be and whether there are special ways (apart from the not eating not long before a run, breathing out when the opposite foot hits the floor, speeding up, and carrying a stone[!] suggestions) to avoid it?
Posted: 27/04/2004 at 15:18

I've got the same problem - I've been off for six weeks with shin-splints. I think the back pain is caused by doing high impact sports again - I reckon it will go quickly enough once your body gets used to running again!
Posted: 03/03/2005 at 09:59

I have recently returned to running after 4 years out. I've been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondolitis, so to do any kind of exercise is a great relief for me. This genetic condition is where your verterbrea start to fuse together and you end up bent double. The specialists have told me to exercise as this can stop the disease catching hold. The symptoms I had were lower back pain, sciatica, lethargy and hip joint pains. Since I've started running again the pain has gone, but it does take me a couple of days to recover from the stiffness, but I'm determined to continue.

I'm now up to 7.5k and hoping to do a 10k later this year and a half marathon early next and the weight is starting to come off.

are there any other AS sufferers out there?

Posted: 13/06/2005 at 14:01

can anyone help/explain something to me. I started running/jogging about 4 weeks ago now, i havent been sprinting just jogging. I smoke (trying to pack up) and i am about half a stone over weight. the running has been good, not over doing it and going 3 to 4 times a week. I have also been playing squash just to help me get fit. but all last week i have been having trouble with my left knee, when i walk it clicks, i have no aches or pains but it still clicks-more so when walking down stairs etc. I cannot find anything under knee injuries but im not sure what it is or if i should carry on running. im just wooried that i may make it worse?!!
Posted: 16/03/2006 at 14:22

Hey all, I am training for the Los Angeles Marathon in the States, and I recently suffered a pretty sever tendon related foot injury.  I did some research and came up with some great tactics to heal the injury.  Now I am on the fast track to recovery.  Check out what I found out - I posted the info on my blog:!-Los-Angeles-Marathon-Update/!-Los-Angeles-Marathon-Update.htm 

Posted: 12/12/2007 at 01:38

The back pain definately eases with time, but the others are right with the stretches.
Posted: 07/02/2008 at 19:12

Can anybody help / explain my problem, I too have struggled wtih a bad back after recently resuming training but lately i have a dull ache higher up my back and a tight chest , the easiest way to explain it is that it feels like being winded, Im not unfit i did great north run last year & im currently (trying) to train for london marathon, i had to stop running tonight for 1st time ever after 3 miles because i couldnt go any further!

Any ideas please? 

Posted: 29/01/2009 at 22:01

hi all,

i am in the army and due to the job i have been doing alot more running prior to going on operations, but i get terrable trouble in both of my lower legs the 1st 2 miles are fine and then i get pins and needleds in my loewr legs and then they go numb, by the end of 7 or so miles my legs are in terrable state. and when i gently press my shins it feels very uncomfortable even when rested. can anyone give me any advice or has any one have any idea of what this could be.

many thank rihi

Posted: 07/10/2010 at 19:35

Back pain from running is often due to tight hip flexors (front of thigh/pelvis)  These muscles get especially tight if you sit at a desk all day.  Stretching for your hip flexors needs to be done daily to start to see any benefit.

To Gary with soreness further up in your back and pain in your chest - see your Dr for a check up!!  If all is ok then you probably have some stiffness in your thoracic spine which can be relieved with stretches and/or physio treatment

Billy Wizz with your knee - could be the early stages of patellofemoral syndrome which is a condition of your kneecap brought on by exercise!!  It can be fixed with exercises but I'd get on to it sooner rather than later as the next stage of this problem is that you may start getting pain!

Rachael Burke

Posted: 08/10/2010 at 09:18

Can anyone help me: I have been runing for 8 months and built up to 10km four times a week. I use to run consecutive days but two weeks ago had dead legs and has to slow right down on a run. After three days rest my legs still felt weak but I still went out and ran but on one of those 10km runs, i developed pain in the front and back lower legs but only after I stopped running. It felt tight while running but after running my leg was stiff and i ended up walking with a limp.

I rested for a few days and went for sports massage, the woman said I wasn't injured but that my legs were tired. Gave me some stretches to do. I had a 5 day rest and decided to run again after changing my shoes. But leg still felt a bit stiff but was fine for the 5km i did. However, the stifness in my left leg came back and the next morning walking down the stairs was uncomfortable. Does anyone what is wrong with me? I feel extremely uneasy at not being able to run and will be going to the physio next week. Just want to run again without my left leg feeling so weak. 

Posted: 18/11/2011 at 18:31

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