Arm Injuries in Runners

by Dr. Richard Beauchamp, M.D., FRCSC

Among runners and walkers, arm injuries are much less common than leg injuries. Even so, an injury to the arm or shoulder can be debilitating—anyone who has experienced the pain of inflammation around the shoulder knows what I mean. An athlete can cope with a leg injury by limping, using crutches, elevating, sitting, or lying down. In contrast, it is very difficult to “rest” an arm joint such as the shoulder or elbow. Even standing and sitting can require the arm musculature to contract, often resulting in pain. You just can’t “get away” from arm pain quite as easily.

Since runners pound the pavement so hard and so repetitively, it is a natural assumption that injuries would be confined to their legs. Runners’ legs have to contend with an inordinate amount of force—up to three or four times their body weight. These forces have to be absorbed by the body, thus injuries can occur in the legs, as well as up the skeletal structure to the back, neck and arms. Continue reading “Arm Injuries in Runners”