Are you a runner?

If so, then you should know two things. First, it is a great way to get exercise, but second, it can be pretty punishing. Few forms of exercise are harder on your body. In fact, studies have shown that runners’ bodies see about three times the wear and tear than people who participate in most other sports activities.

Did you know that your feet contain a quarter of the bones in your body? They do! And your knees bear the largest percentage of your body’s weight. Given that, it’s no surprise that runners are at risk of more than their fair share of injuries related to their sport of choice.

Mostly, it comes down to the repetitive motion. When your feet hit the pavement, no matter how good your shoes are, you’re putting a tremendous amount of pressure on your feet, and those shockwaves travel to your knees.

It’s worse if you’re running to get into shape, because every ten pounds overweight you are is magnified with every step. It’s as though you’re carrying an extra thirty or forty pounds!

In addition to that, running tends to overdevelop certain muscle groups, which can lead to a variety of injuries as your less developed muscles simply can’t cope with the strain like your overdeveloped ones. The most common injuries you’re likely to face are these:

• Overpronation – This is the single most common running-related injury, and is basically a cramping of the inner knee.
• Oversupination – The second most common running-related injury is essentially the same as the first, but is centered on the outer knee.
• Patellar Tendon Issues – The action of running places enormous stress on the patellar tendon, which can cause it to tear (microscopically) and swell, resulting in tremendous pain until you give it time to heal
• And IT Band Syndrome – The IT band is a structure on the outside of your upper leg that travels from the illium to the outside of the knee. The pain can be excruciating.

There are others, but these are the big four. If you feel anything other than the usual “sore muscles” after a run, stop immediately and see your doctor. If you try to run through the pain, you could make matters much worse.