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Cross Country Injuries

Cross country is a competitive sport combining a repetitive motion with repeated force on the body over an extended period of time and physicians estimate that nearly 80 percent of runners become injured each year. Cross country injuries are most likely impact, motion, or bone related.

Top injuries that most cross country runners face are:

1. Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is pain around or behind the kneecap. The knees receive extra stress from to the consistent pounding force of running, whether it be from the pavement, from running downhill, or because of weak hips or muscles.

2. Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation at the back of the lower leg just the above the heel at the Achilles tendon.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is caused from tearing the plantar fascia (tissue at the bottom of the foot). It can lead to inflammation or pain as well as extreme stiffness.

4. Shin Splints

Shin splints occur when the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed.

5. Patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis, also known as “jumper’s knee”, are the tiny tears in the patellar tendon and are very common in long distance runners. Strengthening your hamstrings and quads can help to reduce patellar tendinitis.

6. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are tiny cracks within a bone that are caused by repeated force.

7. Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls inward or outward. Certain circumstances can cause an ankle sprain such as potholes, curbs, branches or landing wrong can cause your ankle to roll.

8. Pulled Muscles

The fibers and tendons can tear and pull a muscle when it is overstretched. The hamstring and the calf muscle are common pulled muscles in runners.

To minimize and prevent injury cross country runners should always make sure to warm up and cool down before and after any physical activity. Runners should identify and make sure their form is correct in order to limit shin splints and back pain. Runners should replace their sneakers every 600 miles.

Adding weight training into a workout helps to strengthen your bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Strengthening your structural fitness helps to avoid injury and endure the stress that running does to your body

Always know your limits. Your body is your temple, and by taking care of it, you will be able to avoid injury and preserve your running career!

Did you know that you have Direct Access to Physical Therapy? No referral is needed. We offer the best Physical Therapy on Long Island where you can get help from our trusted and expert Physical Therapists. We have several locations on Long Island including Massapequa, Valley Stream, Wantagh and Lindenhurst. To start your Physical Therapy evaluation, call Park Physical Therapy and The Physical Therapy Alliance at (516) 568-4444.