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Common Foot Problems for Runners and How to Prevent Them

Common Foot Problems for Runners and How to Prevent Them

You run for your health and for the natural high that it gives you. But if you don’t run with proper technique, or you ignore the signs your feet send you, your risk being sidelined for good.

Running puts tremendous strain on your feet, so you must keep them in good operating condition. That includes getting the care they need ASAP when something (like your step) goes awry.

At Advanced Foot & Ankle Center, our board-certified podiatrists treat common problems runners have with their feet and help you prevent these issues, too. We service runners of all abilities at our offices throughout Utah.

Would you like to know what the most common runner’s foot problems are and how to prevent them? Read below. Your feet will thank you.

Foot pain

Generalized foot pain is one of the most common problems for runners. Considering how much stress you put on your feet and ankles with each foot strike, it’s a wonder that you’re ever out of pain.

The first place to start when addressing foot pain is to be sure that you’re wearing the right type of shoe, the best-fitting shoe, and a shoe that hasn’t lost support and strength.The wrong shoe can give you blisters and corns and increase your risk for stress fractures. 

Be sure your shoes fit snugly, but not tightly. You should have about 1/2 inch of space between the tip of your big toe and the end of the toe box when you stand up straight.

After you put on your shoes, stomp each heel against the ground so the heel cup supports your heel properly. Tie them tightly enough to prevent sliding when you run, but not tightly enough to cut off circulation. Discard and replace worn shoes regularly.

You might also benefit from customized orthotics. We design high-tech orthotic inserts that slip into your shoes to prevent misalignments and other problems, including over- and under-pronation. The right orthotics increase your comfort and even your speed.

Sprained ankle

A sprained ankle is a common injury among all kinds of athletes who run and stop, including runners. A sprain is a stretching or tear in any of the ligaments that support your ankle on either side.

Sprained ankles are painful and may limit your range of motion. A severe strain can prevent you from running for weeks or months. Without proper care and treatment, a sprained ankle can lead to chronic ankle instability, multiple sprains, and more.

The best way to prevent ankle sprains is to build up strength and flexibility in your ankle and foot. Be sure to include ankle strengthening exercises in your training. Warm up and cool down before practice and races with ankle circles to increase circulation to the area.

Plantar fasciitis 

If you suffer from chronic heel pain or if the soles of your feet feel sore or tight, you may have inflammation in the plantar fascia tissue, a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis develops as a result of stress and wear and tear. The pain and inflammation are caused by microtears in the tissue.

Prevention and treatment involve gently stretching the soles of your feet and the back of your heel. Although plantar fasciitis often resolves on its own, it’s not a fast process. If you’re prone to plantar fasciitis, prevent a recurrence with plantar stretches, night splints, and custom orthotics that support your arches.

Fungal infections

Fungi love warm and wet conditions. Guess what’s in your running shoes, if you don’t take proper care? 

To prevent athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, make sure you never go barefoot in public spaces, including gyms, pools, spas, and the beach. Don’t share towels, socks, or other personal items with other people.

Wear synthetic socks that have wicking capabilities so that sweat evaporates rather than accumulates in your shoes. Wash your feet daily and dry thoroughly, especially between your toes.

Morton’s neuroma

If you feel like your socks are bunched up or like you have a stone in your shoe, you may have a condition called Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of tissues that surround the nerves of your toes. Morton’s neuromas usually develop on the ball of the foot, between the third and fourth toes, due to the high impact stress of running.

You can prevent Morton’s neuroma by stretching your calf muscles and Achilles tendons. This helps to redistribute weight away from the ball of your foot.

If you’re a runner, regular visits to your podiatrist help keep your feet and ankles stretched, strong, and injury free. Whether you need a gait evaluation, custom orthotics, or treatment for foot pain or other conditions, call our team at the office nearest you or book your appointment online today.

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