Scotland coach Frank Hadden said: "I am sorry to hear that injury has forced Robbie Russell to retire. I wish him all the best.
"I first came across him playing club rugby for Aberdeen Grammar and promptly got him involved with the Caledonia Reds professional team.
"Robbie played in both the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cup competitions scoring tries against Uruguay and Australia respectively.
"The competition for the hooker position in the national side has been intense in recent times and I always kept an eye on his form because, at his best, he was a quality front-row forward."
Russell moved from north London to south-west London in July 2004 when he joined London Irish for whom he played 60 games and scored seven tries.
He won 27 caps for Scotland, featuring during both the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cups, and scoring four tries.
He said: "I've had a great career and thoroughly enjoyed my rugby wherever I've played. I would like to have played on for another couple of seasons, unfortunately that is not going to be physically possible.
"I would like to thank all the players, coaches and management and supporters I have met over the years and specifically at London Irish for their help, friendship and encouragement over the past three seasons."
"We're sorry that Robbie has had to call it a day on his career and we sympathise with his situation," said Brian Smith, Director of Rugby of London Irish.
"His dynamic ball carrying and aggressive defence will be missed. We thank him for his great contribution to the club and wish him and his family well for the future."