Different Types of Running Injury

We’ve put together our guide to the different types of running injury. Have a read through to help identify any areas of your training programme that might be putting you at risk.


A trauma is an injury caused by an accident or ‘traumatic’ event. For example, if you tripped over while running.

Traumas usually happen unexpectedly, making them difficult to prevent. However there are things you can do, like taking extra care when running in the wet and investing in good quality running shoes. Check out our running tips for more ways to stay safe and injury free.

You can also help prevent injuries caused by sudden movements, like muscle pulls and tears, by warming up thoroughly before every workout. Stretching will also help.

Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive movements - they’re basically lots of mini traumas that build up over time. For example, too much running will overwork your joints and tendons, and can lead to knee pain or pain in your Achilles tendon.

There are two main causes of overuse injuries, and it’s often a combination of both that affects runners:

Extrinsic causes

These are external factors, for example:

  • Footwear - running in worn out shoes, or the wrong type of shoe for your needs.
  • Surfaces – repeated running on hard roads, or roads that slope in a certain direction.
  • Your training programme – overtraining, increasing your distances too quickly, or not allowing your body time to recover after exercise.
  • Weather conditions – running in the cold without warming up first, heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Intrinsic causes

These relate to your physical build. Intrinsic factors alone don’t usually cause injuries, but they can mean it takes longer for a trauma to heal, or make you more likely to suffer an overuse injury.

Here are some examples of intrinsic causes of injury:

  • Muscle imbalance.
  • Lack of flexibility (or over flexibility).
  • Gait abnormalities. These are physical characteristics which affect the way you run – for example, if you have one leg slightly longer than the other, or you over pronate (the way your foot strikes the ground doesn’t allow shock to be absorbed properly).
  • Certain body shapes and sizes.