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Common Running Injuries of the Feet and Lower Legs

running injury

Running is a popular form of physical activity that offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, weight management, and stress relief. However, despite its many advantages, running can also lead to various injuries, particularly in the feet and legs. Understanding these common running injuries is essential for both prevention and proper management.

Plantar fasciitis:
 One of the most prevalent running injuries is plantar fasciitis, which involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Runners often experience sharp pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot, especially during the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. Contributing factors to plantar fasciitis include overtraining, improper footwear, and biomechanical issues such as overpronation. The treatment for this is described in my website.

Achilles tendinitis:
 Achilles tendinitis is another common running injury that affects the Achilles tendon, the large tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. This injury is characterized by pain and stiffness in the back of the lower leg, just above the heel. Overuse, sudden increases in training intensity, and inadequate stretching or common causes of Achilles tendonosis among runners.

 Shin splints:
 Shin splints or, medial tibial stress syndrome, refer to pain along the inner edge of the thigh bone. The injury is often caused by over pronation, running on hard surfaces, or sudden changes in training routines. Runners with Shin splints may experience tenderness, swelling or throbbing pain along the inner part of the lower leg. It is essential to address contributing factors such as muscle imbalances and improper footwear to prevent recurring shin splints.

Stress fractures:
 Stress fractures are the tiny cracks in the bone that commonly occur in the weight-bearing bones of the feet and legs. Long distance runners and those who rapidly increased their training load are particularly susceptible to stress fractures. Symptoms include localized pain, tenderness, and swelling, which worsen during activity and improved with rest. Ignoring stress fractures can lead to more severe injuries and prolong recovery times. 

Prevention and Management:
 Preventing common running injuries of the feet and lower legs include several strategies. Proper footwear selection, regular stretching, gradual training progression, and strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, addressing biomechanical issues through orthotics or gait analysis can help correct running form and prevent overuse injuries.
 When managing running injuries, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are initial steps to reduce pain and inflammation. Seeking professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan is crucial for a safe and effective recovery. 
Physical therapy, orthotics, and modification to training routines may be necessary to address the underlying causes and prevent recurrent injuries.

Common running injuries of the lower legs and feet can significantly impact a runner's performance and overall well-being. Therefore, understanding the causes, symptoms and preventive measures for these injuries is vital for maintaining a healthy and sustainable running routine. By prioritizing injury prevention and seeking appropriate treatment, when necessary, runners can minimize the risk of common foot and leg injuries and continue to enjoy the many benefits of this popular form of exercise.

 If you are experiencing injuries to the lower legs or feet, please contact our office immediately.


Dr John R Senatore Dr. Senatore graduated from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in Oakland, California, and completed his surgical residency program in Baltimore, Maryland. He immediately joined the medical staff at Union Memorial Hospital, also in Baltimore, and still serves as chief of Podiatry Services. Union Podiatry Top Doc Dr. Senatore has completed dozens of long-distance races, including the Boston Marathon, giving him a unique understanding of treatments for sports injuries of the lower extremities. The practice also specializes in treatment of foot and leg problems in infants and children.

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