Top Washington DC Podiatrist: Running Injuries You Should Know

Most runners are used to pushing through when fatigued because of ‘no pain, no gain’ right?

Well, according to top Washington DC podiatrist Dr. Lonny Nodelman, there is some pain you should never ignore because that’s how runners get seriously injured.

This post explores three common running injuries and what you can do to stay safe while exercising.

Injury # 1 Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are minute cracks occurring in the bone(s) caused by repetitive trauma. Podiatrists typically observe them in long-distance runners. Affecting the heel, feet, shin bones, hips, and lower back, they are diagnosed through a physical exam and sometimes an X-ray/bone scan/MRI.


  • Aching, pain, swelling at the fracture site
  • Pinpoint pain or tenderness when the bone is touched
  • Pain that starts when you run and disappears at rest
  • Pain even when carrying out routine day-to-day activities
  • Pain when standing on one leg

When the fracture is less severe treatment may involve bed rest and reducing the intensity of your workouts. In a worst-case scenario, a stress fracture may need surgery.

Prevent stress fractures by wearing appropriate running shoes, eating a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium, and cross-training to reduce stress in your lower body.

Injury #2 Achilles Tendon Tears
The Achilles tendon isn’t just the thickest tendon in your body but is also the strongest. A tear in this element connecting your heel bone to your calf muscle can be excruciating and debilitating. This type of injury is also more common in men than in women. Diagnosis is via a physical exam and or ultrasound and MRI.

  • A snapping or popping sound when the tendon tears
  • Swelling and pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg
  • Inability to use the injured leg to walk or stand on your toes
  • Feeling like someone has kicked you in the calf

Invasive treatment in the form of surgery may be necessary if the tear is severe. If the injury is less serious, non-surgical treatment involving resting the wounded leg, applying ice to the injured area, and securing the foot and ankle in a cast is recommended.

Prevent Achilles tendon tears by properly stretching your calf muscles before and after running. In addition, switch up your exercise routine and avoid hard flooring.

Injury #3 Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is a condition in which you feel pain under the kneecap and around it. You may feel pain in one or both knees. It’s common if you run, jump, or squat. A physical exam and sometimes an X-ray are used to help diagnose the issue.

  • Pain when you bend the knee e.g. when squatting or going upstairs
  • Pain when you sit with your knees bent for a long time
  • Popping on your knees when you climb stairs or stand up
  • Pain when you change your typical running surface or intensity level

Treatment includes changing your activity level and engaging in physical therapy. It’s key to also get sufficient rest, elevating and icing the knee. Compression also helps alleviate pain. Surgery is rarely required.

Prevent runner’s knee by giving your legs a break; using cold therapy post-running, and stretching the knee muscles properly pre and post-workout.

Think you have a running injury?
Do you have any questions about running injuries? Dr. Lonny Nodelman, a leading Washington DC podiatrist at District Foot and Ankle is here to help. Request your appointment today.

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Disclaimer:Any information provided in this blog is not intended to replace medical advice given by qualified professionals.