Foot pain is fairly common among runners due to the long period of repetitive motion when you run and the pounding your feet take from running on hard surfaces. Injuries are common too, which results in further pain. Pain and injury are especially common when you first start a running program and haven't learned how to care for your feet properly. Here's a look at what causes foot pain when you run and how you can treat and prevent it.
Why Runners Get Foot Pain
Foot pain is caused by a number of things. It could be due to a sudden injury such as landing on uneven ground and getting a deep bruise or sprain. Pain can also develop as a chronic condition due to stress fractures, tendon inflammation, or ligament tears. A more common cause of pain is from blisters and sore feet from shoes that don't fit well. Foot problems are more likely to develop if you suddenly increase your running distance instead of building up your endurance gradually and giving your feet time to adjust.
Why Prompt Treatment Is Important
Foot problems can get worse if you don't stop to treat the cause of your pain. A stress fracture won't heal and it might turn into a larger break if you keep running even though you have pain. Tiny tears in ligaments may multiply or get bigger. Blisters and sores can become deeper wounds and get infected. You should care for minor injuries quickly yourself and get help from a podiatrist for more bothersome types of foot pain.
How To Treat Foot Pain
The best way to treat pain is to stay off your feet until healing is underway. You may have to continue working, but you should postpone running until your pain is gone. If you have to run to train for a competition, then work with a podiatrist so you can train without causing further harm to your feet.
One thing you can do at home is prop up your feet on an ice pack to give them time to rest and to help reduce swelling and pain. Stretching exercises may help keep your tissues from getting tight and painful. Your podiatrist might recommend wearing a brace or splint at night while you sleep to stretch your feet depending on the nature of your pain.
It may even be necessary to have your gait analyzed to see if you need corrective shoes or orthotics that hold your feet in the proper position when you run so your tissues aren't stressed constantly. Severe foot injuries might need injections for pain or surgery to repair damaged bones or tissues.
How To Prevent Foot Pain
Start training slowly and give your feet time to adjust to the new routine. Buy high-quality running shoes so your feet have the proper support, and be sure to buy new shoes when the old ones start to wear down. Padded shoe inserts may help by absorbing some of the shock when you run. It may not be possible to avoid foot pain entirely when you're a runner since you never know when you might land on a tree root or uneven pavement and hurt your foot. If you do develop pain, be sure to rest and get proper treatment so a minor injury doesn't develop into a chronic condition that leaves you with frequent pain.
Contact a group like East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons to learn more.