Running is excellent exercise, whether you run for pleasure, competition, or both. But a foot injury can take even the best runner down quickly if it’s not properly treated. If you are a runner, be aware of these common foot injuries and what you should do about them:
Runners often experience tiny cracks in the bones of the foot known as stress fractures. They can occur from repeated impact of your foot on pavement and also happen when you suddenly increase your activity or train especially hard. If you have pain with activity but not during rest, you may have a stress fracture. See your podiatrist for a proper diagnosis, as these often require an x-ray and adequate rest for healing.
Ranging from mild to severe, you might sprain your ankle by “rolling” it or falling. You’ll typically notice some swelling and bruising. An ankle sprain should be rested and iced, and you may need to take anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen while it heals. Your podiatrist should evaluate the severity of the sprain. Repeated injury to the ankle can occur if the sprain isn’t properly treated and strengthened
This is a result of inflammation and irritation of the tendon on the bottom of the foot. It often occurs when your calf muscles are too tight or your shoes don’t provide adequate support. Heel pain is the most common symptom, and it may hurt more in the morning and then subside after a few minutes. Heel pain that lasts more than a few days should be evaluated by your podiatrist
The Achilles tendon runs from the heel to the calf. Although it’s strong, repeated strain from running (especially stopping and starting) and intense training can irritate and inflame the tendon. This results in heel pain with activity, as well as swelling and a feeling of warmth in the area. If you notice pain in the heel for more than a week, call your podiatrist to get it checked out.
Avoiding Running Injuries
Although some injuries can’t be avoided, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of getting hurt while running:
- Invest in good running shoes. Go to a running or fitness store where the staff can help you choose the right pair. Replace them every 400-500 miles, or sooner if they hurt or show signs of wear.
- Properly stretch before and after your runs. Be sure to stretch your feet, hamstrings, and calves.
- Get strong. Strength training can help your muscles withstand the stress of running.
- Don’t do too much, too soon. Gradually ramp up workouts and distances.
If you have foot pain, don’t try to “tough it out.” Contact the Family Foot & Ankle Clinic so you can get your feet healthy – and get back to running – as quickly as possible.