What It Is: Tenderness in your lower calf near your heel that usually strikes when you push off you toes.
You’re at Risk: Men with a BMI of 25 or higher (a man who is 5’10” and weighs 175lbs, for example) who runs a nine-minute-per-mile pace or faster.
Why: The Achilles absorbs several times your ody weight with each stride. A faster pace and additional body weight put even more stress on this tendon.
Prevent It: Strengthen your calf muscles (with your toes on a step, lower and raise your heels). Stretch your calves (keep your heel on the ground, lift your toes back toward your shin).
Others at Risk: People who regularly run hills (the Achilles has to stretch more on inclines) and who have increased their mileage more than 10% per week (sudden increases in mileage strain the tendon).
What It Is: Pain in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone.
You’re At Risk: Men with a BMI of 25 or higher or who have a history of playing basketball and have suddenly increased their weekly mileage.
Why: The patellar tendon helps your leg extend during running or jumping, but that repeated motion can create small tears in the tendon. After years of activity and then a sudden increase in mileage, your body may struggle to repair those tears. Extra body weight doesn’t help.
Prevent It: Keep you weight in check. Do squats to strengthen the patellar tendon and stretch you quads and hamstrings. Avoid increasing mileage by more than 10% percent per week.
Others At Risk: Runners with a history of tendon injuries; overpronators.
What It Is: Inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot that’s usually worst first thing in the morning.
You’re At Risk: Men over 40 who have a family history of the injury.
Why: The make-up of the tissue in the plantar fascia is stiffer in men and gets less flexible with age. Experts think it could be a genetic condition.
Prevent It: The fascia tightens overnight, so stretch your calves before getting out of bed (straighten your legs; flex your toes). Strengthen your calves with toe raises or eccentric heel drops.
Others At Risk: People who wear shoes that lack good arch support (flip-flops, ballet flats); pregnant women.
What It Is: Inflammation in the band of fibers that runs along the outside of the knee to the top of the shin.
You’re At Risk: Women with a BMI higher than 21 (weighing 135lbs at 5’7″, for example) or higher who do a weekly long run of two hours or more and run hills often.
Why: Extra body weight puts a heavier load on the hips and more pressure on the IT band. Long runs fatigue the muscles that help stabilize women’s hips. The hips sag more than normal on each step, straining the band. During a hill workout, the knee stays bent longer, which also increases tension in the IT band.
Prevent It: Strengthen the muscle around the IT band with leg walking (loop a resistance band around both ankles and walk sideways in one direction, then the other). Use a foam roller to loosen the band (see runnersworld.com/foamroller).
Others At Risk: People who run on slanted surfaces; runners with leg-length discrepancies.