There’s no doubt about it: running is healthy for both the mind and the body. Running is a hobby for some, and a lifestyle or even career for others.
No matter how serious of a runner you are, taking care of your feet will help you get the best out of each and every run. Because of the constant use of the feet, many issues can plague even an average runner.
In this blog post, we will be talking about the different types of foot pain that many runners experience and how to prevent them.
Plantar Fasciitis – What is it?
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, meaning it is caused by stress placed on the feet. It comes as no surprise that runners are at a risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that connects the heel to the base of the toes. Because of its rigidity, overuse and overpronation can cause small tears to form in the fascia. These tears cause and inflammation.
Do I have plantar fasciitis?
You may have plantar fasciitis if you:
- Are a runner and have recently increased your mileage.
- Notice any sharp pains or deep aches in the heel or arches of your feet.
- Cringe with pain or discomfort after that first step when getting out of bed in the morning.
- Experience pain with standing after being seated for a long period.
- Feel a tinge of pain when you first push off at the start of a run.
Metatarsalgia – What is it?
Fact: the forefoot absorbs as much as 110 tons of cumulative force per mile during running. That means your metatarsals—the five long bones that run from your arch to your toes—absorb an incredible amount of shock.
This excessive contact with the ground while running and uneven weight distribution can cause irritation and inflammation of the metatarsals. This results in metatarsalgia.
Do I have metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is most often categorized as a burning, stabbing, or aching pain just beneath the toes. It can sometimes feel as though there is a stone in your shoe.
Whether you have flat feet, high arches, or something in between, metatarsalgia is something every runner should look out for. In addition, symptoms often seem to occur out of nowhere and then build for several months.
How do I take care of my feet while running?
All the scary foot-pain facts we just threw at you may make running seem like a podiatrist’s worst nightmare. That being said, running doesn’t have to take a toll on your feet and ankles. In fact, our very own Dr. Dailey is an avid runner himself!
Here are some tips for keeping your feet healthy and happy while continuing to enjoy every run:
Always Warm Up First
Stretching and warming up can reduce the strain on the muscles, tendons, and joints of the feet (and the rest of the body). A ten-minute walk before breaking into a run can help get your body in the groove and prevent injuries.
Set Small Goals
Slow and steady wins the race! Build up your speed, distance, and endurance gradually over time. A sudden and drastic increase in the distance you are running can lead to injury. An injury means no running for at least a few weeks, so instead of pushing too hard and hurting yourself, work your way up with small goals.
Listen to Your Body
Do not try to “run through the pain.” While foot pain is common, it is not normal for your feet to hurt. Stop if you feel foot, heel, or toe pain. Running through the pain can turn a minor injury into a major one.
Wear the Right Shoes
Finally, and of the utmost importance, is the type of shoes you wear. Wearing proper shoes when running (and in everyday life) is so crucial to increasing comfort and agility, and decreasing pain, inflammation, and injuries.
- Shoes should be stable in the heel, meaning you should not be able to push the back of the heel down towards the inside of the shoe.
- Your shoes should not bend and twist easily, as it is important that they are supportive through the midsole.
- The shoe should have the ability to bend slightly where your toes bend.
- Pay attention to the fit of the shoe rather than the size. Shoe sizes can differ across the hundreds of brands out there, so it is important to try the shoes on before buying them.
Foot Pain Is NOT Normal—Even For Runners!
Some may attribute their foot pain to general soreness from living an active lifestyle. While that may be the case for some, it is crucial to remember that it is not normal to experience foot pain even as a runner or an athlete.
By warming up, stretching, pacing yourself, knowing your limits, and picking a good shoe, runners can have healthy and happy feet to carry them wherever the next run takes them.
And if you still find yourself in pain during or after a run, give our office a call. We will be glad to assist you!