Every runner experiences running-related injuries at some point in their life. Preventing these problems is more straightforward than treating them, especially with everyday issues like blisters. These foot problems are caused by poor running form, poor footwear, and poor training.
The best prevention is to strengthen your feet and develop good running conditions. They can cause severe damage to your ankles, knees, and hips if not adequately cared for.
5 Common Foot Problems for Runners
1. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an uncomfortable foot condition caused by repeated stress to the tissues of the heel. The problem is caused by tight calf muscles, weak arches, and improper running technique. Plantar fasciitis progresses rapidly in runners because it’s an overuse injury, which means that repeated stress causes inflammation in the plantar fascia tissue.
2. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is a foot condition caused by inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It is commonly seen in runners and other athletes who perform activities requiring a lot of heel striking. The Achilles is an essential structure in the body and makes it possible to run, walk quickly or jump from place to place. Achilles tendonitis can be very painful and stop you from being able to run for weeks or months if not treated properly.
A blister is a hard buildup of fluid under the skin, which may cause pain. Blisters typically form when the skin becomes wet or when the feet get repetitive stress or shocks, such as from a hard-running surface.
4. Arthritic Changes
Arthritis is swelling or inflammation of a joint. It can bring about pain and difficulty functioning. Arthritis is more common in runners, especially people that start running at an older age.
5. Navicular Syndrome
Navicular syndrome is a foot condition that affects the bottom of the foot and may cause pain and limited mobility. It occurs when pain in the heel is due to a mechanical problem with the arch but not due to poor running form. The most common cause of the navicular syndrome is overpronation, where the feet roll inward during activity.
10 Tips For Runners
1. Wear the Right Shoes for Your Feet
Choosing the right shoes for your feet is essential. There are different types of shoes, each designed to meet specific needs. Other shoes have extra cushioning and support, making it easier or harder to pronounce (roll inward). Make sure you get fitted for the right shoe by a trained professional. You can also purchase custom-fit orthotics to provide extra support if you are at risk of overpronating.
2. Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet
You can significantly reduce your risk of foot problems if you strengthen your feet and stretch after exercise. Try to do this each time you run by doing toe raises, stretching the inside of your ankles, and doing calf stretches. Massaging your feet after exercise is also a good idea.
3. Get Regular Foot Care
Get professional treatment for foot problems as soon as they develop pain or other symptoms. It would help if you replaced shoes when they begin to wear down. Pedicures are also a good idea. Caring for your feet will help keep them more vital and reduce the risk of injury.
4. Beware of Overpronation
Overpronation is a condition that occurs when a foot rolls inward during activity. It is commonly caused by weak arches, weak ankle muscles, and weakness in the ankle bones (tarsals). If you overpronate, you are more likely to develop injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle sprains.
5. Run on Soft Surfaces
Running on asphalt and concrete is hard on the feet and can lead to injury if done too much. Try to run on softer surfaces, such as grass or dirt, whenever possible. It also helps lift your feet when running on these surfaces to reduce shock.
6. Stretch and Massage Your Calf Muscles
Calf muscles are essential to help control the foot when running. The muscle group is located behind the lower leg. Try doing calf stretches to improve mobility in the muscle group. Another good idea is to massage your calf muscles after your run, which can help keep them strong and healthy and reduce pain associated with running on hard surfaces.
7. Take breaks when you need them
If you are trying to run harder or farther, you may want to shorten your workouts. You can do this by taking shorter runs. You may also want to use shorter rest periods between sets in your workout routine or take a break every 10 miles. It will help keep you from injuring yourself overtraining and being more consistent in your training schedule.
8. Keep Your Shoes Clean
Shoes attract dirt and grime after use, which can cause pain and discomfort if it gets into the shoe. Make sure you clean your shoes regularly with warm water to remove any debris before it starts to cause problems.
9. Get a Trainer for your Running Form
A trainer can help analyze your running form and suggest ways to improve it by helping you use good posture, develop strong calf muscles, and reduce overpronation. Make sure the trainer you purchase this service from is trained and qualified to help you with running form, or you may be wasting your money.
10. Don’t Run in Extreme Weather or Hot Weather
Running in extreme weather conditions can be very hard on the body and cause significant damage. It would be best if you tried to avoid running in extremely hot or cold weather and make sure you stay hydrated when you run. Running in extreme temperatures may cause your feet to swell, leading to discomfort and injury.
Running can be a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it is essential to be aware of your feet and make sure you are making running as comfortable as possible. You can prevent most foot problems by wearing the right shoes, stretching and strengthening your calves, taking regular breaks, and staying on soft surfaces. Ensure you visit your Pedorthist if you have pain in your foot or are having difficulty running.