Tips For Runner Foot Fitness
We’ve got tips to help you avoid common runners’ injuries and make the most of your plans for an active summer season.
With spring in the air at long last, runners in the Twin Cities are back outside and making up for lost time. Running provides great cardio and bone-strengthening impact exercise, but it is also true that the repetitive stress of running on paved surfaces can be hard on runners’ feet. Both long-distance and casual runners can improve their performance through awareness of foot health and injury risks. The best way to prevent a serious injury is to be alert for signs of possible injury.
Common running injuries
Whether you are a regular marathoner or a regular in your favorite park every Saturday morning, here are some of the most common running injuries—with tips on how to address them.
One of the most common running injury complaints is heel pain. The causes of heel pain range from faulty mechanics, wearing running shoes that are worn out or too soft, and overpronation—pressure unequally applied to the inside of the foot. These conditions can result in plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of the ligament that holds up the arch of the foot. At the first sign of heel pain, try transitioning to sturdier shoes and arch supports. If the pain persists, consult a sports physician; you may need medication, custom orthotics, and physical therapy to resolve the issue.
Ankle sprain is another common running injury that requires prompt medical evaluation. Sometimes, what feels like a sprain is actually a fracture, and the treatments for these two conditions are very different. Many runners believe that if they can walk or run, they cannot have suffered a fracture, but this is simply not true. Especially with stress fractures, pain and swelling might not occur for several days following the injury. If you suspect a sprain or fracture, remember RICE: the shorthand for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation of your injured foot. If pain and swelling continue for three or four days, consult a foot and ankle physician for a proper diagnosis.
Achilles tendon disorders
The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg. Sudden increases or changes in your training routine can cause micro-injury of the tendon fibers. Without treatment, these injuries can progress into a degeneration of the tendon. Prompt diagnosis and therapy can keep a minor running injury problem from becoming more serious.
When the nerve in the ball of the foot is compressed and irritated, the nerve tissue can thicken and become painful. Symptoms start gradually, including pain, numbness, and a burning sensation in the ball of the foot. Damage is progressive, so early diagnosis is important.
With awareness and prompt attention, you will help prevent running injuries and keep your feet fit for a long sunny season of running the Twin Cities’ lovely parks and trails.
Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise
Our fellowship-trained foot and ankle physicians understand that your mobility depends on the health of your feet and ankles. If you have suffered an injury or are experiencing symptoms that make walking painful, our team of foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment, seasoned surgical teams, and expert rehabilitation support. Summit Orthopedics specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on your feet and on your way.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
Learn about what you can do if you suspect you have an unhealed fracture.
Tips every basketball player should know about how to prevent ankle sprains.
Ask the Expert: Foot and Ankle Video Series