Common Running Injuries and When to See a Specialist

Which Running Injuries Are the Most Common?

As a Pain Doctor will tell you, the majority of running injuries can be classed under one of the following three categories:

Number 1, Iliotibial (IT) Band Friction Syndrome

A prime root cause of this particular injury, is weak buttock (gluteus) muscles. Of note, women are especially prone to such injuries. – This is due to their broader hips stressing the IT band, which in turn, irritates the inflamed tissue’s bursa. This scenario is “particularly painful when a person tries to run downhill, or walk down the stairs. The pain can present either on the side of the hip, or on the outer side of the knee” [1], and if either of these is the case, you should visit a Pain Specialist as soon as possible. Note: depending on each individual’s medical circumstances, the Pain Doctor may not need to conduct any scans [1].

Number 2, Stress Fractures

These relate to small breaks caused by overuse. They can appear in the shin bone (tibia), or in the metatarsal bones (in the feet), due to continual pounding on various surfaces. A number of dietary factors (for example, not consuming sufficient dairy products, or an eating disorder), can predispose someone to a stress fracture. The latter can seem as though: “a knife is jabbing into the bone with every step you take. A stress fracture requires immediate attention, because if it progresses, the person can end up fracturing the whole bone, all the way through” [1]. In this instance, the Pain Doctor will make a diagnosis based on an imaging study.

Number 3, Runner’s Knee

This condition may be the result of an imbalance or weakness in the thigh muscles (quadriceps), or feet issues (e.g. flat feet). Moreover, abnormal leg bone alignment – which leads to increased pressure on the kneecap, may also play a role. This is due to the fact that it can wear down the cartilage below the kneecap. Pain caused by this issue is generally worse when squatting, or
walking up or down the stairs; sitting cross-legged, or kneeling. If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned pain, book an appointment with a Pain Consultant at the first available opportunity. They will look at your symptoms, undertake an examination, and confirm their predicted diagnosis with any necessary imaging [1].


Yale Medicine (2023). “Running Injuries.”