Running can be a fantastic way to exercise, and it plays a key role in many sports and physical pastimes. But hitting the pavement over and over can also be tough on your feet.
At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers in Texas, our board-certified podiatrists see runners battling various foot and ankle issues. Understanding these common problems can help you stay one step ahead, allowing you to take preventive steps whenever possible.
Keep reading as we dive into five common foot problems for runners and how to prevent them before they start.
1. Plantar fasciitis
This painful condition is characterized by inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. It can feel like a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning.
Preventing plantar fasciitis
Focus on calf stretches and plantar fascia stretches to relieve tension. Regularly rolling a frozen water bottle or tennis ball under your foot can also help alleviate discomfort.
You’ll also want to ensure your running shoes provide adequate arch support and cushioning. Replace them every 300-400 miles.
2. Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. It affects your Achilles tendon, the thick tissue band connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone. Runners experience this painful condition regularly when they don’t mix up their running regimen.
Preventing Achilles tendinitis
Regular calf exercises can help prevent Achilles tendonitis in runners. Also, vary your running routine to prevent overuse. For example, switch up the types of ground you run on and the duration and intensity of your runs.
Caused by friction, these painful sacs of fluid can develop anywhere on the foot. They may not seem like a serious injury, but blisters can stop you in your tracks. They also increase your risk of developing an infection, which could lead to additional complications.
Properly fitted shoes and moisture-wicking socks can help prevent blisters in runners. Ensure your running shoes fit well and aren't too tight or loose. And opt for moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry and reduce friction. If your blister gets infected, seek help from a podiatrist.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe, causing your big toe to push against your next toe. Runners commonly develop bunions because of the increased pressure and strain on their feet.
Choosing appropriate Footwear and wearing custom orthotics are great tactics for preventing bunions when you’re a runner. Choose wide shoes that give your toes ample space and prevent squeezing, which can worsen bunions.
Your Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers provider can also provide custom-made shoe inserts, called orthotics, to ease pressure on the bunion or the joint associated with bunions.
5. Shin splints
Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, refer to pain along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia). This often results from inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the tibia, which running can trigger.
Preventing shin splints
To prevent shin splints when you’re a runner, start by choosing the right shoes. Be certain your shoes provide the right support. Your podiatrist can offer guidance on the best fit for your foot's structure and gait.
You’ll also want to cross-train by incorporating low-impact activities, like swimming or cycling, into your exercise regimen. And finally, be sure to gradually progress. Don’t increase your running distances by more than 10% each week to give your body time to adapt.
Regular foot care for runners
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting, regular visits to your podiatrist are essential. As professionals specializing in foot and ankle health, our providers not only diagnose and treat these common problems but also offer personalized advice to prevent them.
Remember, your feet bear the brunt of every mile you run. Ensuring they receive the best care will keep you running comfortably for years to come. So, if something feels off, or you're looking for guidance on footwear and foot health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers.
If you’re a runner hoping to stay on your feet for as long as possible, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a podiatrist at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center today.