Shoulder Pain Whilst Running

When thinking about the typical types of injuries associated with running, what springs to mind for many of us are the knees and lower limbs. However, injuries to the upper body are surprisingly common and can be just as detrimental to runners as lower body injuries.

Shoulder pain can occur during any type of exercise including running, causing severe discomfort that can impact the training routine. General aches and pains are not usually a reason for alarm, although shoulder aggravation whilst running, can on occasion, become excessively painful and difficult to resolve without treatment and addressing the causes.

shoulder pain when running


Most upper body related complaints associated with running are due to poor form and running technique. This leads to excessive tension that can trigger pain in the neck, shoulder and thoracic spine. Good running form is when the body is correctly aligned during movement, poor running form is when the body is out of alignment, and this can be due to bad postural habits, gait issues, improper footwear or fatigue.

Distance running is immensely tiring and as the body becomes increasingly fatigued, and it is not unusual to lose form as a consequence. The shoulders begin to hunch forward and become rounded with the head lowering towards the ears, and the arms swinging excessively whilst running. The repetitive strain of lowering and raising the arms whilst running can cause the tendons in the shoulders to rub against the bones, leading to pain and discomfort.

Having correct running form is important, as it not only helps to prevent injuries but also makes running more efficient.


Running Technique and Gait Analysis

Working with an experienced running coach or physiotherapist is an excellent way to identify any incorrect techniques or running weaknesses.

Sometimes poor upper body posture may be the result of an altered or inefficient running pattern, as each foot strike or heel strike has an impact on the rest of the body, including the form and alignment of the upper body. A running/gait assessment can help to see if there are any improvements that can be made to an individual’s technique. This process analyses body movements and biomechanics as an individual walks and runs. Clinicians will evaluate the gait cycle; the process of moving from one foot to another, and will take into consideration step and stride length, foot angle and stride width.

Buy Correct Footwear

Buying the appropriate type of running trainers is an important part of correcting poor foot posture which has a knock-on effect on the rest of the body. The correct footwear can rapidly transform walking or running style.

Improve Strength

Building strength and maximising muscles in the body during workouts is a good way to enhance running form. This can be achieved by regular strength training to improve core strength and other muscles in the upper torso, helping to prevent a range of injuries by supporting the upper body and ensuring that correct form is maintained whilst running.

Warm Up & Stretches

Another important aspect of injury prevention is to always warm up properly and to stretch thoroughly both before and prior to running or any other type of exercise. This helps to ensure that the muscles do not tighten up whilst running or post exercise, making pain related soft tissue injuries less likely, as well as supporting good posture and form whilst running.

Breathe Correctly

Correct breathing techniques, such as learning to breathe from the abdomen rather than the chest, makes running more effective and efficient as well as helping to maintain posture and form during the activity.

Red Flags

If shoulder pain presents with numbness and tingling sensations or if there is a reduction in the range of movement of the arm, this should be investigated immediately by a health professional.

How We Can Help

We offer a wide range of services including running gait assessments, personal training and physiotherapy services, and offer advice and treatment for running-related injuries and can help to improve an individual’s form and technique.

Any type of athletic lifestyle carries with it the potential for regular injury, whether you are a professional sportsman or an avid exercise lover/ We can help you get into shape as well as treating and preventing injuries. Find out more about our services here.

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