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by Alison McGinnis, PT, DPT, FAFS

Posted in Blog.

February 19th, 2019

What Do You Do When You Feel Pain On A Run?

We’ve all experienced pain or discomfort at some point during a run, but how do you decide if you should push through it or if you should call it quits? There are a few questions to ask yourself when you start to experience pain on a run.


  1. On a 0-10 pain scale, is the pain level above a 2/10?
  2. Has your running form changed at all due to the pain you’re feeling?
  3. Is the pain getting more intense if you continue to run?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may want to consider trying a few of theses strategies while running to see if you can eliminate the pain.

  1. Shorten your stride length
  2. Increase your cadence (turnover rate or how often your feet hit the ground)
  3. Change what part of your foot hits the ground first (try to land on your midfoot or forefoot)
  4. Try to run “softer” or “quieter” where you land lighter on your feet
  5. Change the surface you are running on. If you’re on the sidewalk see if you can find a dirt path. If you are running hills move to a flatter surface or vice versa. If you are running around a track head out along a straight path instead.


Trying one or all of these simple tweaks may be enough to eliminate the pain you are experiencing by altering the repetitive loading through your body. These do not need to be permanent changes to your running form, but should be used as a temporary break to your original form to allow your body to rest while still continuing to run. If the pain goes away, great! Take a deep breath, relax, and finish your run. If the pain persists after trying each of these, you may want to end your workout for the day to decrease your risk of injury. If the pain persists on future runs then seek medical help from a Physical Therapist to address the root causes of your pain before the injury has a chance to get worse.

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