Your feet have a great deal of pressure placed on them even before your workout begins. The simple motion of walking forces your ankle joint to support your body weight and absorb the force of your movements. When you begin to run, your foot bears the force of your body weight and high-speed impact with the ground, and must also cope with the repeated stress of pushing off and landing with each step.
Many Runners Experience Injury Over and Over Again
As you can imagine, these forces can cause runners to suffer serious injuries, many of which are chronic conditions that will “flare up” with increased activity. Runners may suffer one or more of the following:
Plantar fasciitis. One of the most common injuries runners will suffer is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament along the bottom of the foot. Runners who do not stretch regularly, increase their mileage too quickly, or train on hill courses may suffer heel pain due to the stress on the plantar fascia. If the condition is not corrected, the irritation may cause a calcium deposit called a bone spur to develop, causing further pain and inflammation.
Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is necessary for pushing off the ground with each step, and can easily become inflamed due to overuse.
Ankle joint injuries. Although the ankle joint is surrounded by tough tendons and strong ligaments, landing hard on the foot can cause the ligaments to tear or pull, resulting in ankle sprain. Severe sprains may rupture the tendons or cause breaks in the ankle bones, resulting in instability in the ankle that may require surgery to correct.
Stress fractures. Long-distance runners are at higher risk of suffering stress fractures in the bones of the feet. Normally, the muscles and soft tissues of the foot absorb the impact from foot strikes. However, when the muscles tire, they lose the ability to pad the foot from shocks, transferring the force of impact into the bones. This can cause tiny fractures in the mid-foot, ankle, or heel bone that may need casting to repair.
Soft-tissue pain. Some runners suffer pain in their feet, joints, or toes due to tight-fitting shoes or hereditary conditions that make running more painful. Flat feet can cause runners to suffer undue pain in the arch, heel, and mid-foot, while patients who wear narrow shoes may suffer bunions, blisters, or neuromas as a result. In many cases, a change in footwear and custom orthotic devices can ease the pressure and correct posture, taking the pain out of running.
Toenail problems. Training for a race places daily pressure on the toes, and can cause toenails to become blackened or fall off due to trauma. While many runners accept the loss of a toenail as an occupational hazard, there are ways to prevent these injuries from happening. Proper arch support and wider toe boxes in running shoes can prevent the toes from striking the front of the shoe, reducing the bruising that happens with each foot strike.
Our Services Can Help You Stay on the Path for Good
At Podiatry Care Specialists, PC, we know that runners are hesitant to miss even a single day of training. However, one day off can make a world of difference in relieving your pain—especially if you come to us for evaluation. We can examine your feet, ankles, and body mechanics to determine the source of the problem and devise a solution that will get you back on track as soon as possible. Call our office location most convenient for you, or use our online request form to schedule an appointment.
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