Running Tips to Prevent Foot Pain

Athletes often suffer from injuries more than others do. They exert higher amounts of pressure on their bodies and push themselves where others do not. If you have foot pain while running, however, it is not a good idea to push through it. You could actually do more damage. Dr. Mitchell Wachtel offers running tips on how to safely exercise and prevent injury.

Why Run?

Running doesn’t just help you lose weight. There are a multitude of health benefits that runners achieve. They have higher levels of HDL cholesterol (which your body needs) and lower levels of triglycerides and body fat. Their risk of coronary heart disease is much lower than that of a non-runner. Furthermore, they have lower blood pressure thus lower rates of using pharmacological drugs to manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Running also helps your heart pump blood more efficiently and causes your muscles to extract oxygen more easily as well. Having said all that, one of the biggest benefits from running (and any exercise) is weight loss. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight, and running burns a lot if you do it consistently.

Common Foot Injuries Due to Running

Although beneficial, running is not without risk. There are several foot and ankle injuries that are commonly seen in athletes who run. Foot pain from running could be caused by any of the following:

  • Stress fracture­­—a bone crack found in the feet and shins. It usually occurs when you change your workout routine, such as increasing the level of intensity or adding more miles too quickly.
  • Shin splint—pain and inflammation along the front of your lower leg. Again, this is usually caused by a quick change in routine. People who overpronate are also at a higher risk.
  • Achilles tendinitis—an inflammation of your Achilles tendon. You will notice pain in your calves and heels. This is usually caused by repetitive stress to this area.
  • Pulled muscle—also known as a muscle strain. This could happen to any muscle that is overworked, but in runners the calf, hamstring, or quad is usually affected.
  • Ankle sprain—ligaments in the ankle stretch and become inflamed. This occurs when the ankle rolls in an unnatural way.
  • Plantar fasciitis—this is the most common reason for heel pain. It occurs when the tissue connecting the heel to the toes becomes inflamed from overuse.

Injury Prevention

You should protect yourself against injury whenever possible. Always make changes to your workout gradually. If you want to increase the intensity of your route or run an extra mile, do it over time. If your body is telling you something is wrong, listen to it! Do not push through the pain or assume it will get better on its own. Rest your body for a few days or do something with less impact (such as swimming). Before you run, make sure your body is warmed up. Don’t do static stretches, but instead do a light jog in place or jumping jacks.

If you do notice that you are overdoing it a bit, try the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This can greatly improve healing time as well as eliminate some of your pain. As always, make sure you are wearing the right shoes. Properly-fitted shoes that are supportive can greatly decrease your risk of suffering an injury. Furthermore, get fitted by a professional who knows what to look for regarding your gait and any other specifications you might need. Every pair of feet is unique—you need to treat them that way!

If you are experiencing foot pain while running or would like more information about keeping your feet safe on the run, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (888) 616-2512 to schedule an appointment today. You can also visit one of three locations in North Andover, Lowell, and Haverhill, MA. We are here to serve you and your feet.