Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

How Long Will My Recovery Take After A Running Injury?

December 14, 2019


Running remains one of the most popular forms of exercise due to its’ convenience, low cost of entry, and aerobic efficiency. It is difficult to replace the same health benefits you receive from a 30 minute run with another mode of activity. Unfortunately the rates of running related injuries have not been reduced with improvements in shoes, training methods, and utilization of cross training. In fact, 80-90% of recreational runners can expect an injury in their career preventing them from training or competing. There may not be a more motivated group of individuals than runners who are unable to run and they quickly seek out treatment to help. Physical Therapy accelerates healing from running related injuries within the constraints of the injury’s severity and the body’s ability to heal. A recent study provides insight into the recovery times for common running related injuries.

Mulvad and colleagues followed 839 runners enrolled in the Run Clever Trial to determine injury type, rates, and recovery time (Plos One. 2018). They reported 140 of the 839 of the enrolled runners sustained a running related injury preventing them from training or competing. Authors reported on 112 of the 140 injured runners and found 77 recovered (symptom free) from their injury within the study period. The median time to recovery for all injuries was 8 weeks. The most common injuries and median time to recovery from initial examination by a Physical Therapist were described as follows

Medial Meniscal Injury (89 days)

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (70)

Glut Tendinopathy (56)

IT Band (56)

Achilles Tendinopathy (56)

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (49)

Calf Strain/Injury (49)

Plantar Heel Pain (35)

This study highlights the length of time required to heal from common running injuries. Many of these injuries can return to running sooner than these time frames by working with a Physical Therapist, but at a lower running volume.

Runners are encouraged to reduce their risk of running injury by avoiding training errors (too much, too soon), working with a Physical Therapist on running gait mechanics, and incorporating running specific strength training into their exercise programs. Injured runners are encouraged to seek assistance when they are unable to train or compete at their desired levels, be patient with their injuries and avoid treatments that sound too good to be true, and rehabilitate their injured tissues under the guidance of a Physical Therapist to optimize healing and reduce their risk of recurrence.

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