Q: I kind of want to start running but I'm afriad I'll get hurt... is it worth it?
First of all... in a word YES! Running is always worth it. The benefits far outweigh the risk of injury or even injuries themselves. I truly believe that running is the most efficient exercise.. meaning, you get the most out of it for the time you put into it. And, I don't know a single person who has ever regretted becoming a runner.
That being said, most injuries are preventable, you just have to be smart. In my year + 3 months of running I have had 2 injuries: Patellofemoral Syndrome and ITBS (Illiotibial Band Syndrome).
Patellofemoral Syndrome is basically knee pain which is common in beginners and is caused by running too much too soon. I didn't think this would happen to me, because when I started running I really hated it. But that feeling quickly faded as I was able to increase my mileage and then all I wanted to do was see how far I could go. So Patellafemoral Syndrome can be prevented by increasing your weekly mileage slowly.. a good rule of thumb is to increase your total weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week. It is cured by resting...plain and simple :)
ITBS is more common in experienced runners and is my most recent injury. It's characterized by pain on the outside of the knee or in the upper thigh/hip. It can be caused my improper warm-ups/cool downs, not enough stretching, running on un-even surfaces, etc. I don't really know a whole lot about it other than that it sucks and is getting in the way of my marathon training:) It is cured by rest, stretching (lots of stretching!!), icing, foam rolling, and Advil:) Apparently it is "maintainable" meaning you can continue training/running with it, it just may be painful. I am learning all this as I go though, don't take my word for it, I am not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV.
So basically, you can most likely prevent ITBS by properly warming up & cooling down and ALWAYS stretch!! I know stretching can sometimes seem like a pain in the butt, but do it! It pays off!!
To sum up: Don't let the thought of getting hurt stop you from running. There are risks with any sports/hobbies.. just be smart, do research, and do everything you can to prevent injuries!