Do your feet hurt during or after you go for a run? Do you have pain in your arch, toes, heel, side of the foot, toenails or even the bottom of the foot? If so, you’re not alone. Have you wondered what are the most common running foot injuries and how to treat them?
Runner’s feet certainly take most of the impact when pounding the pavement or countryside. If you overtrain, ignore pain, you find yourself as one of the runners who typically develop one injury every year. It’s not surprising to say that runners put their feet through a lot!
What causes foot pain when I run?
There are many different reasons why runners experience foot pain. While some foot pain is caused by injury, other pain can be attributed to running or inadequate footwear. This can be from excessive mileage, over-pronation, poor gait, weakened hip strength or simply improper footwear. There are solutions that can help.
As your feet come in all shapes and sizes, each person will develop different problems depending on their running style, and body type.
What are the most common running foot injuries?
Below we have documented some common injuries that can cause discomfort and pain. So, what are the most common running foot injuries? If you are concerned about any foot injuries you may be suffering, please do get in touch.
What causes Blisters when I run?
Blisters are caused by excessive friction of the shoe or sock due to excess wetness with sweat while the skin will soften, leaving high-pressure areas of the skin at risk.
How can I avoid Blisters when running?
- Double socks; wear two pairs of thin socks so the socks rub, rather than your feet
- Wear the correct fit footwear – not too long or wide fitting and not too tight!
- Treat any hard skin or callus on your feet
Why do my Toenails get damaged when running?
Some runners can experience toe rubbing against the front of the shoe if the shoe is too small or the foot is sliding forwards if the shoes are laced too loosely. This may occur especially when running downhill, causing repetitive trauma, bruising (subungual hematoma) and possible lifting (onycholysis) of the nails with each step.
This occurs when the nail is pushed down into the nail bed, becoming bruised and inflamed, often leading to loss of the nail (traumatic nail avulsion). A way of preventing this is an application of toeflex toenail reconstruction, to add a protective layer over the nail.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common injury to the foot and is an inflammation of the tissues that connect your heel to your toes. This is very common in runners who have fallen arches or have caused overuse injuries from excessive running, poor footwear and running on hard surfaces without adequate arch support and heel impact protection.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
- Arch pain, from repetitive arch collapse and tension on the Plantar Fascia.
- Heel pain, from repetitive impact and inflammation of the Plantar Fascia.
- A stabbing sensation in the arch or heel of the foot.
- Tightness in the foot after long periods of sitting or standing as the Plantar Fascia contracts due to inflammation and micro-tears.
- Pain first thing in the morning; caused by tight and inflamed Plantar Fascia.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis includes stretching, biomechanical assessment and supportive insoles or corrective orthotics.
What are Stress Fractures?
Stress Fractures are one of the most common sports-related injuries for runners. They appear as small cracks in the bone or deep bruising of a bone.
These can occur from overuse. Stress Fractures typically occur at the end of the metatarsals (long bones in the foot) and around the ankle joint.
What is the cause of Stress Fractures?
- Repetitive and traumatic movement.
- A sudden increase in running.
- Improper running technique.
- Poorly fitting or inadequately supportive footwear.
What are the symptoms of Stress Fractures?
General symptoms of Stress Fractures can be pain whilst running; which then subsides at rest. Tenderness to the area and swelling on the top of the foot is also common with Stress Fractures.
Treatment for stress fractures includes; orthotic insoles, stretching exercises and rest.
What is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is a painful irritation of the tissue, muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the five metatarsal bones of the foot. The area surrounding these long bones in the foot can become irritated and inflamed after running.
What are the most common causes of Metatarsalgia?
- Poorly fitting shoes: too small, too large, or just poorly laced.
- High impact sports such as running.
- The shape of the foot – high arches, which often collapse when weight-bearing.
- Tight or weak muscles in the foot.
What are the symptoms of Metatarsalgia?
The symptoms of Metatarsalgia can be a stabbing pain in the arch of the foot, pain in the ball of the foot, pain across the forefoot, or pain when you flex your foot.
What is the treatment for Metatarsalgia?
In general, the treatment for Metatarsalgia is; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE), limiting your running and repetitive trauma, stretching exercises and custom orthotic insoles.
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma is an inflammation of the nerve in the ball of the foot. The nerve gets trapped between the adjacent metatarsal bones and a ligament, which causes swelling and pain.
This is common in runners with a high arch who strike the ground with their forefoot and runners who wear shoes that are too narrow.
What are the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
The symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma are very similar to those of Metatarsalgia, but also include burning or tingling sensations, numbness and sharp stabbing pains in the forefoot. Morton’s Neuroma is common between the 2nd and 3rd, or 3rd and 4th metatarsals.
What is the treatment for Morton’s Neuroma?
- Start by selecting correctly fitting footwear with a high and wide toe area. A low heel is recommended.
- An orthotic insole, designed to unload pressure and slightly spread the metatarsal bones can help relieve pain.
- If symptoms worsen, surgical intervention may be advised to remove the neuroma.
What is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s Knee is another name for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and occurs when the knee cap continuously rubs against the thigh bone which leads to pain around the front of the knee (patella).
What are the causes of Runner’s Knee?
There are many different causes for Runner’s Knee such as structural defect or uneven gait.
Causes that are associated with Runner’s Knee include; weak thigh muscles, tight hamstrings, over-pronation, poor foot support and injury.
What is the treatment for Runner’s Knee?
Treatment for Runner’s Knee depends on a variety of factors such as age, health, and pain level.
Unfortunately, most runners will find themselves sidelined with a foot ailment at some point. Most running injuries generally involve the lower body, including the knees, ankles, hips, groin, and legs. But, the feet prominently take a significant hit.
What is Shin Splints?
Shin Splints is pain or tenderness in the shins and is common in runners.
What are the causes of Shin Splints?
Shin splints are caused by stress on the shin bone (tibia) and the connective tissue that connect the surrounding muscles to the bone. This tissue becomes inflamed and painful.
Causes of stress in this area can include:
- Collapsed arches, resulting in stress and trauma.
- Working out without first warming up or cooling down.
- Tight or weak muscles.
- Sudden increase and frequency of intense exercise.
- Hard or uneven running surfaces, hills or terrain.
What is the treatment for Shin Splints?
- Rest to allow time to heal, up to several months from traumatic exercise.
- Ice the area to reduce inflammation and ease the pain.
- Wear supportive arch supports or corrective orthotic insoles incorrectly fitting and appropriate footwear.