Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, but it is also one of the most common ways to sustain a painful injury. That’s because your foot is comprised of 112 ligaments, 33 joints, and 26 bones – not to mention a vast network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels – and one improper move can damage any of these parts.
Fortunately, you can avoid painful foot or ankle injuries – or effectively treat one – by having your feet examined by a podiatrist regularly.
The Most Common Causes of Running Pain
Runner’s knee tends to be the most common running injury. It occurs when the kneecap continuously rubs against the thigh bone (femur), which causes pain around the front of the knee. A certain amount of shin discomfort is to be expected when you first start running, but it can become particularly painful due to over-striding, muscle imbalance, or overuse.
Other common foot and ankle problems among runners are:
- Plantar fasciitis – inflammation of the tissue that connects your heel to your toes, caused by excessive force and stress while running.
- Metatarsalgia – irritation of the tissues or muscles surrounding any of the five long bones of the foot caused by excessive or improper contact with the ground when running, poor fitting shoes, or tight or weak foot muscles.
- Posterior compartment syndrome – a condition in which pressure builds up within the muscle compartments, decreasing blood flow to the muscles and prevents oxygen from reaching the nerves and cells. This condition can lead to nerve and cell damaged if untreated.
- Stress fracture – small cracks in a bone or deep bruising of a bone caused by repetitive movement, insufficient bone strength and density, low vitamin D, or improper running techniques.
How to Prevent Foot Pain from Running
Runners often experience foot and ankle pain because of footwear that isn’t the right style or fit. After all, running shoes are different from exercise shoes that are used for other sports or aerobic exercises. An obvious solution is to wear podiatrist recommended shoes that are based on the build of your foot. Also, adequate cushioning and/or orthotic inserts can help protect your feet from the continuous impact of running. It’s important that your running shoes support the arch of your foot and help stabilize your foot during impact.
In addition, post-run foot exercises recommended by a podiatrist can help strengthen, stretch, and mobilize your foot and ankle muscles and help minimize the risk of common injuries. These may include ankle rotations, calf raises, balance exercises, massage, and foam rolling.
It’s also important to pace yourself, especially when you start a running regiment. If you experience pain while running, slow down to see if the pain decreases. If it doesn’t or becomes worse, stop and rest. If pain persists after running, you may have an injury and should see a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Foot and Ankle Pain Doctor in Plantation, Florida
If you sustain a foot or ankle injury as a result of running, it’s good to know that effective treatment is readily available. Dr. Robert Baylis and Dr. Christopher Brown have more than 30 years of experience in diagnosing and treating patients with a variety of conditions and disorders related to bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligament, and can provide the treatment you need, whether your concern is a recently sustained injury or a more complex, chronic condition.
To learn more about the foot and ankle conditions we treat or to arrange a consultation with one of our doctors, call us at (954) 476-8800 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form.