Common Runner Problems and How to Deal with Them

Being a runner means you get used to dealing with a lot of aches and pains. Your back, knees, shoulders, and ankles usually take quite a beating, but you put up with it because it feels so good to run. But there are a few more serious problems that can make running quite painful. Knowing how to deal with these common runner problems is important, as it will help you be comfortable as you run. Here’s what you need to know:

Knee Pains

If your knee is on fire as you run or there is a sharp pain in the inner or outer portion of your knee, it’s likely that you are running with the wrong form. Correcting your form is usually enough to reduce the aching in your knees, though you should give yourself a few days of rest to recover. Try not to run on aching joints, as that can often lead to increased damage to the joint. Rest and recover before running again.


Did you know that running for long periods of time can lead to diarrhea? This is because your body is vibrating a lot, shaking up your intestines. Running also causes the blood to flow to your legs, so there is very little blood flow left for digestion. The best way to avoid this problem is to stay hydrated and try to cut back on fiber, especially before your run. Those with weak digestive tracts would do well to watch what they eat before a race.

Blisters and Bleeding Callus

The bottom of your foot is very tough and durable, but if you sweat a lot, the skin may soften to the point of bleeding and peeling away. Blisters are very common on the back of the ankle, as well as on the heel, around the toes, and the forefoot. These blisters are caused by a combination of sweat and friction, and they can be VERY painful. To avoid blisters and bleeding calluses, use antiperspirant on your feet to stop them from sweating. Make sure your shoes fit right to avoid rubbing the back of your ankle, and wear protective socks to stop blisters from forming.

Bloody Nipples

There is a reason marathon runners put tape over their nipples: to stop them from being rubbed raw and bleeding. You can use skin lubricants, athletic tape, or even Vaseline over your nipples, as that will stop the friction from rubbing the sensitive skin raw.

Bleeding Toenails

If you run a lot, you may find that your toenails start to bleed a lot and may even fall off. This is often the result of shoes that are too small. If the shoes are too tight, they may run the sock against your toes, pressing on the toenail and causing damage. The best way to deal with this problem is to find the right size shoe to run in, but keeping your toenails trimmed can also help. If you notice your feet are swelling, apply ice and bandage them to stop them from bleeding.

Bad Teeth

It may surprise you to find out that many runners have bad teeth, but it’s true. This is because exercise causes a decrease in saliva production, changing the pH balance in your mouth. Without plenty of saliva and with an altered oral pH, the enamel on your teeth can be worn away more easily. To avoid this problem, drink more water, or at least swish it around in your mouth. This will help to re-balance your mouth’s pH levels and protect your teeth.


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