Running for exercise is a great way to maintain good health, but it can also be a source of injury. Approximately 50 to 75% of running injuries are overuse injuries 1 van Mechelen W. Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Med. 1992 Nov;14(5):320-35. Review. PubMed PMID: 1439399. , meaning that they happen over time through repetitive movement rather than because of a single traumatic event.

Overuse injuries often occur when a person begins or intensifies a running routine without adequate stretching and muscle conditioning. Alternatively, a seasoned runner may acquire an overuse injury over several months or even years of training.


Experts estimate that injury rates are higher for runners who log 40 or more miles per week 2 Gallo RA, Plakke M, Silvis ML. Common Leg Injuries of Long-Distance Runners: Anatomical and Biomechanical Approach. Sports Health. 2012 Nov;4(6):485-495. Review. PubMed PMID: 24179587; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3497945. , and runners who have had previous injuries. 3 Wen DY. Risk factors for overuse injuries in runners. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2007 Oct;6(5):307-13. Review. PubMed PMID: 17883966.

This article reviews the most common running injuries, including brief descriptions of how they occur and what symptoms they cause.

The most common running injuries tend to occur in the knees, feet and ankles, calves and shins. Other weight-bearing areas, such as the back, hips and thighs, are also susceptible to injury.

Dr. Andrew Cole has 30 years of experience specializing in spine and joint pain management. Dr. Cole has held numerous medical appointments throughout his career, and recently served as the Executive Director of Rehabilitation & Performance Medicine Enterprise for Swedish Health Services and as Medical Director of Ambulatory Musculoskeletal Services for Swedish Medical Group.