Common Tendon Injuries in Runners

Published: 23 May 2019

Common Tendon Injuries in Runners

We have some very motivated trail runners in our team.  This photo is of Steve Cunningham, but Kristen Brace and Renee Coleman have also competed in UTA events and in Kristen’s case she has completed the Western States Marathon.  So, when the opportunity to chat to a group of motivated runners recently presented itself, we jumped at the opportunity.  Here are the basics:

A tendon is a flexible cord that attaches a muscle to a bone allowing the muscle to move a joint.

When it comes to tendon injuries and distance runners, the most common conditions we see are overuse injuries.

A tendinopathy is an umbrella term for pain and pathology in a tendon.

Common sites of tendon injuries in runners are:

tendinopathytendon paintendon injuriestendinopathy

Common Symptoms:

  • Localized pain
  • Warms up with activity and is worse after
  • Morning stiffness

Generally the more you do the worse the pain is and the longer it lasts. With an “irritable tendon” quicker onset of pain and lasting for more than 24 hours.

Why does it happen?

  • Change in load/doing to much
  • The way your set up/muscle weakness/reduced flexibility
  • Age
  • Weight Gain

How to manage Tendon Pain:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Pain relief – Load management
  • Guided strength program
  • Address dysfunctions/weaknesses

Physio tendon rehabHow do I prevent it?

  • Progressive training program
  • Incorporating a strength program into training
  • Adequate rest periods
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Adequate sleep
  • Weight Control

Take home message:

Physiotherapy does help.

Guided strength program is the best treatment for tendinopathy.

There is no “quick fix” – getting a tendon to adapt to load takes time and compliance with your rehabilitation program.

Physiotherapist Caringbah






Photo credit – Tarawera Ultra Marathon