Running and Foot Pain: What You Need to Know
Some running-related pain like a tight, sore muscle might be tolerable for many runners, but sore feet are another matter. That’s because we use our feet for a wide range of motions throughout each and every stride we make. While running, the foot absorbs the impact and shock we experience upon landing, and also controls the muscles and motions we use as we push off to take the next stride. Most foot pain is related to the motions involved in either pushing off or landing, and if you ignore these issues, you can wind up with a fracture or other serious injury that can derail your physical activity for a long time.
Understanding foot injuries is important to making sure you get the care you need, when you need it. Here’s a list of some of the most common foot injuries runners experience, along with their symptoms:
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the base of your toes to your heel and helps provide critical support to your arch. Straining the plantar fascia results in an overuse injury that can cause swelling, pain and inflammation – even tearing. Due to the fact that plantar fascia is used so much, healing can take a considerable amount of time and the injury can become chronic. In some cases, plantar fasciitis can result in formation of a bone spur, a small deposit of calcium that develops as the heel attempts to heal itself. Over-training and neglecting to warm up, especially the calf muscles, can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, and so can age.
The Achilles tendon is that strong band of tissue you can feel extending from your heel to your calf. It’s the biggest and strongest tendon in the body, and considering the load it has to bear each and every day, it needs to be. When the tendon becomes overworked or when you fail to warm up or wear ill-fitting shoes, the tendon or the sheath of fibers that surrounds it can become irritated and inflamed. The result: Achilles tendinitis, causing pain, stiffness, tenderness and swelling that gets worse with activity throughout the day.
Your metatarsals are your foot bones, and metatarsalgia is a condition that results in pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot, usually involving the second, and sometimes third and fourth toes. Metatarsalgia is a common overuse injury among athletes in high-impact sports where the ball repeatedly absorbs considerable shocks. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s also common among women who frequently wear high heels, since these shoes tend to force the balls of the feet to carry most of the body’s weight. Studies have shown that during running, the ball of the foot absorbs up to 110 tons of force per mile, so it’s no wonder this area of your foot becomes sore and inflamed.
Black toenails occur when the toe beneath the nail becomes bruised, usually as a result of the toe sliding forward and repeatedly striking against the shoe. In most cases, this occurs when a shoe does not fit properly, and it can also occur during periods of extreme training.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t delay treatment; putting off care can make the condition much worse and expose you to other serious running-related injuries. Call our office today at 646-484-5185 to schedule an evaluation so you can get back to running without pain.