Fitness Articles

5 Common Running and Walking Injuries

How to Prevent and Treat Pain from Running and Walking

Both running and walking are simple ways to get a great cardiovascular workout with no equipment beyond a sturdy pair of athletic shoes. But these common activities can lead to pain and injury if you're not careful. Here are five of the most common issues suffered by runners and walkers, how to prevent them and how to soothe the pain they can cause.
ITB Syndrome
What is ITB syndrome?
The Iliotibial Band (ITB or IT Band) is the thick band of fibrous tissue (fascia) that runs on the lateral side of your leg from your hip to your knee. ITB syndrome, common among runners, walkers and cyclists, occurs when the IT Band becomes irritated and inflamed as a result of overuse.
What are the symptoms of ITB syndrome?
Pain at the outside part of the knee (or less commonly at the outer part of the hip) is a common symptom. The pain usually occurs at the middle or end of a run (or ride), and is more intense on hills, stairs or inclines. It can cause a popping in the knee or snapping of the hip as well. 
What causes ITB syndrome?
Some common causes of ITB syndrome include one:
  • Overpronation (excessive inward rolling) of the feet
  • Weak hip and/or gluteus muscles
  • Overtraining (especially sudden increases in mileage or inclines)
  • Differences in leg lengths (which can occur by running on small indoor tracks)
  • Inadequate shoes (type, fit, cushioning)
What can be done to ease the pain of ITB syndrome?
  • Rest from exercise (especially from inclines and stairs). Only continue workouts that do not bring on pain.
  • Ice and anti-inflammatory medication to decrease the inflammation
  • Stretch and massage the area
  • Wear proper shoes. If your feet continue to overpronate, even with proper footwear, consider purchasing orthotics. (Insurance may cover orthotics, if prescribed by your doctor or chiropractor).    
If pain continues for more than two weeks and the above treatments do not resolve it, see your doctor to rule out other factors that may be causing the problem.
Plantar Fasciitis
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is the thick band of fibrous tissue (fascia) that attaches the bottom of the heel bone to the toes. The purpose of the plantar fascia is to absorb shock and support the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of this tissue, caused by repetitive stretching and tearing. 
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Experiencing pain with the first few steps you take each morning that seems to lessen with movement is a common symptom. However, the area usually becomes painful again with prolonged standing or walking.
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • Great article! What I thought was just a few muscle pulls was Shin splints that once treated correctly were relieved! - 10/14/2015 3:43:20 PM
  • By following the recommendations of always warming up, never increasing distance or elevation too fast, always stretching afterwards and wearing shoes appropriate for your type of feet and stride, even someone with flat, over-pronating feet like me can run comfortably for decades.

    Good article. - 4/27/2015 10:11:13 AM
  • I have suffered from IBT for YEARS but until I read this I wasn't sure what it was called. My hip pops and cracks shortly after I start fitness walking and sometimes it gets quite sore. It's loud enough that my DH can hear it. Ouch!

    - 4/27/2015 7:06:26 AM
    This is my 2nd day of the 30 day walking challenge! - 4/9/2015 1:29:50 PM
    Hi. I think I can do this challenge, 10 minutes walking........ - 4/7/2015 6:26:33 AM
  • I have Plantar Fasciitis plus Neuropathy! For the Plantar Fasciitis I went through about 15 physical therapy sessions, stretching, soaking, etc. None of these helped much until I got Orthotic inserts! Big difference!!! - 8/27/2014 11:33:37 AM
  • SILVIA1961
    I just started one of the Sparks programs, 5 weeks to a 5 K. I am taking my dog out on the walk/run program. I feel guilty if I leave him behind. - 12/22/2013 6:19:37 PM
  • I just started jogging. I think I'll rest tomorrow and just lift weights. I do ice and take iboprofen. - 8/26/2013 8:20:15 PM
  • Right now I have three of the five injuries and I don't run - I got them from issues I have with arthritis and just plain walking!
    Coach Nicole has a video using the foam roller for a releasing the tightness of ITB - very helpful but hurts like heck! - 8/26/2013 3:31:19 PM
  • I started running and was fine until after my first 5K. After the run, I moved my knee wrong, and felt a sharp pain in my knee and hip. It lasted a couple of hours, and my knee was very tender after it. I let my leg heal for a few weeks and after I stopped feeling any pain I tried running again, and sure enough the pain came back. So I gave up running. But every now and again my knee will hurt. So I asked my Dr and the response was, "Yeah that happens to everyone who runs. I suggest you try other activities." (which was not at all helpful) - 8/26/2013 1:09:20 PM

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