When you begin to train as a runner, your primary goal is to gain speed, strength, endurance, and of course to get and stay in shape through your running practice. However, if you do not take proper care of your body as you begin your training, you will find yourself suffering from a number of aches and pains including (but not limited to) various foot problems and ailments. Get to know some of the common foot problems runners experience and ways to treat and prevent them so you can keep your feet healthy and safe when training as a runner.
Plantar fasciitis is perhaps the most common complaint among runners. It is essentially the irritation and inflammation of soft tissue that exists in a thick band that extends from toe to the heel of the foot known as the fascia.
Plantar fasciitis is often characterized by severe pain in or around the heel of the foot. This pain is usually sharp and stabbing and may be more painful after you have been at rest for prolonged periods of time. If you run on a foot with inflamed fascia tissue, you could experience debilitating pain throughout the running process.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis includes rest, proper stretching before runs to prevent strain, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and in extreme cases even surgery. Surgery, however, is a last resort treatment used only when conservative treatments do not help relieve symptoms and the problem lasts for a prolonged time. If you believe you have plantar fasciitis, you should visit a podiatrist right away for diagnosis and treatment.
Metatarsalgia is another common foot ailment that runners experience. In contrast to plantar fasciitis, the pain associated with the ailment occurs in the front of the foot, just below the toes. The metatarsals are five long bones in your feet that extend from the heel to the base of the toes.
Running places a great deal of pressure on these bones, particularly where they meet the toes. When you develop metatarsalgia, you will begin to experience sharp, stabbing pain just below the middle three toes. You may even think you have something in your shoe like a stone or thorn that is causing the pain. It may also manifest as a burning or aching sensation in that region.
Generally, metatarsalgia can be resolved and treated by rest and a change in running footwear. Shoes that are worn down or are not supportive enough can increase the impact absorption when you are running. This places even more stress and pressure on the forefoot. If changing shoes does not reduce your pain, you may need custom orthotics or callus removal surgery, and should see your podiatrist.
As you can see, training as a runner can take a toll on your feet. However, prevention and treatment of the common foot ailments caused by frequent running are possible. So, keep proper foot care in mind the next time you lace up your running shoes, and remember to contact your podiatrist if you have foot pain and trouble that does not resolve itself fully and quickly.