Running Injuries


Help for Running Injuries

Running provides an excellent workout, but sometimes pounding the pavement brings aches and pains. When you run, your foot hits the ground with a force several times your bodyweight. That means a 150-pound runner’s foot could bear a half-ton of pressure with each footfall. Is it any wonder that just about every runner deals with a running injury at some point?

Sore muscles usually recover with rest, ice and massage. But when pain lingers – from groin pain to a twisted knee or aching heel – our running injury experts can find the cause and help you get back in motion.

The Aurora Difference

Advanced Treatment for Running Injuries

With our team of orthopedic and sports health experts on your side, you can recover from running pain and return to peak performance.

We offer one of Wisconsin’s largest sports health teams, including physical therapists, athletic trainers, primary care sports medicine doctors, orthopedists and surgeons. Having all of this expertise in one unified health system means that we can provide the answers and care you need, when you need it.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Expert diagnosis: Our sports injury experts have specialized training in diagnosing running injuries. We use advanced diagnostic tools like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) arthrograms to find the exact source of your injury. Pinpointing an exact diagnosis helps us develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan just for you. Even for the most specialized care, you can find an Aurora doctor with the expertise you need. Learn more about orthopedic diagnosis.
  • Noninvasive treatment options: Our primary care sports medicine doctors treat running injuries without surgery. What’s more, we can help you improve your running form so you can understand why you’re hurting and how to avoid future injuries. Learn more about our performance running assessment.
  • Advanced surgical care: When a running injury requires surgery, active adults, teens and children can count on our capable orthopedic surgeons. They offer minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopy to help people stay active. Read more about our orthopedic medicine and surgery treatments.
  • Convenient locations: With multiple sports health locations throughout eastern Wisconsin, our sports medicine program is one of the state’s largest. That means it’s easy to get the care you need close to where you live, work or train. Find a location.
  • Team injury care: High school teams, professional athletes, and community sports leagues and clubs – including the Badgerland Striders – all consult us for training, care and return-to-play decisions. Find out more about team medical coverage.

Risk Factors

Who Is at Risk for Running Injuries?

A running injury can happen to anyone, but you may be at greater risk if you:

  • Have poor running form, like heel striking
  • Suddenly increase your mileage or pace
  • Change running conditions (adding hills, for instance)
  • Are female
  • Have a higher body mass index (BMI)
  • Wear worn-out or ill-fitting running shoes


Types of Running Injuries: When Should You See a Doctor?

Chronic or sudden aches and pains may leave you wondering if you need to see a doctor. If your pain is long-lasting or seems to come and go, treatment may be necessary.

However, if you have difficulty catching your breath, chest pain or numbness, see your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room.

The most common types of pain that indicate a running injury are:

Knee Pain

Some knee pain doesn’t go away with rest and ice, or it feels worse when you climb stairs or stand. If you experience this kind of pain, you could have a condition called runner’s knee or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. This condition occurs where the tendon that connects the knee and hip swells and tightens.

Learn More About Knee Pain

Plantar Fasciitis (Foot & Heel Pain)

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation or irritation on the bottom of the foot, where the arch meets the heel. It commonly happens when people increase or change their running activity. If you think you may have plantar fasciitis, a doctor can evaluate your foot and recommend treatment.

More About Plantar Fasciitis

Achilles Tendon Pain

The Achilles tendon is the stretchy band at the back of your heel. If this area is painful or swollen, you could have Achilles tendonitis. This condition is best treated with therapy to prevent possible permanent damage.

Get Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Bone Pain & Groin Pain

Pain that lingers in your foot, heel, groin or thigh – and gets worse when you push on the bone – could indicate a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone that requires treatment to heal.

Learn More About Stress Fractures

Arch Pain

Tendons – bands that connect muscle and bone – run along the inside of your ankle to your arch. When these tendons get inflamed, you’ll feel pain in your arch and ankle. If the pain lingers, you may need a doctor’s care to prevent future damage.

Treatments for Foot Pain & Ankle Pain

Shin Splints

Shin splints are pain below the knee that usually occurs when you’ve pushed too far, too soon. They can happen when you’re trying to beat your best time, adding another mile to your route or finishing your run without a cooldown. Most shin splints can be treated with rest, stretching and ice.

Learn About Shin Splints

Ankle Sprain

A misstep or fall can twist or bend your ankle. If the ligaments (tissue bands that connect bones) in your ankle stretch too far, they can cause small, painful tears – commonly called sprains. Using noninvasive treatments like bracing and physical therapy, we can evaluate and treat your sprain so you can get back to running.

Read More About a Sprained Ankle

Diagnosis & Treatment

Finding the Source of Running Injuries

When you come to us for treatment, our doctors will examine your leg or foot to see how it behaves when you move it. They’ll also ask about your pain level, your running routine, your health history and anything that has changed recently.

If our team suspects a stress fracture or needs more information, they might order an X-ray or other imaging to see inside your bones and joints.

Treating Running Injuries

Once we’ve diagnosed the source of your running pain, we’ll recommend possible treatments. Together with you, we’ll discuss your care plan, which might include:

  • Bracing or splinting: A brace or splint aligns the joint while an injury heals. Bracing and splinting can also help you continue your regular activity as you heal.
  • Custom orthotics: Shoe inserts support and stabilize the foot and knee to avoid further injury and make walking or running more comfortable. Learn more about custom foot orthotics.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help relieve pain and loosen or lengthen the muscles. Our sports physical therapists teach improved body mechanics so you can get back on your feet without making an injury worse. Get more information about physical therapy.
  • Surgical repair: If a larger muscle tear or loosened ligament is causing your pain, surgery might help. We’ll tell you about your options, including minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.

Our Running Performance Programs

Want to improve your running form and strength? Our sports performance programs are designed to help you get faster and prevent injuries.

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