Runner’s Feet: How to Treat Common Training Pains
Running is a high impact sport that puts a great deal of pressure on the many small bones and joints in the foot. Injuries can develop from overuse or trauma. Running is an excellent form of exercise, however, and many people enjoy mental health benefits from running as well. There is no reason to avoid running due to fear of injury.
Common Foot Problems Associated with Running
Stabbing pain in the heel is likely the result of plantar fasciitis. The pain is often worst in the morning and when walking up stairs. Plantar fasciitis develops when the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. Metatarsalgia is a condition that feels like bruising on the balls of the feet. It can be centralized between the second and third or third and fourth toes or near the big toe. The pain is often worse when you are on your feet. Metatarsalgia develops when excessive pressure is placed on the long bones of the foot.
Stress fractures are small cracks that can develop in bones from repeated stress. They most often develop in the metatarsal. Left untreated, the pain becomes worse and the foot may swell or develop bruising. Pain from a stress fracture is worse during activity and may go away while at rest.
Treatment for Training Pains
Runners understand the importance of healthy feet. They are literally the support system for your body. Anyone experiencing foot pain should consult a foot doctor. Injuries can escalate if not treated properly. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis to know what type of treatment is best. Often, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication are enough to treat an injury. Some ailments, such as plantar fasciitis can be treated with a brace. A complicated stress fracture may require casting.
Foot injuries can develop for a variety of reasons, some avoidable, others less so. Increasing your training mileage or intensity too quickly is one common cause of injury. The general rule is to increase mileage by no more than 10 percent a week, and only increase mileage or intensity, not both, at one time. An improper gait can increase your risk of developing foot pain. Improper gait sometimes has to do with the way your body is put together and would take concentrated work with a professional to improve. You can work on improving your gait on your own by weight training to correct muscle imbalances and performing running drills on a regular basis.
Proper fitting shoes that are in good condition are the key to keeping your feet healthy. Purchase shoes that are made for your stride, whether you are a neutral runner, or under or over pronate. Make sure the shoe fits properly, you should have about one-half an inch of room from the end of your toe to the end of the shoe. Replace your shoes every 300 or so miles.
Foot pain can bring your training to a grinding halt. While frustrating, it is important to rest and seek medical attention immediately. Trying to work through the pain will slow your recovery and may worsen the injury.