How to Reduce Foot Pain for Runners
Frequent running is harder on your feet than any other type of physical activity. Whether you run recreationally or competitively, you have probably dealt with foot pain at some point. When you consider that your feet hit the ground at an impact two to three times your body weight, it's easy to understand why.
Tips for Preventing Foot Pain While Running
One of the simplest things you can to do prevent foot pain is invest in a quality pair of running shoes that offer strong shock absorption. This lessens the impact of your feet hitting the ground with such force. Other ways to keep foot pain at bay include:
* Keep your feet dry: When your feet become excessively sweaty, you're more likely to develop itchy fungal infections and painful blisters. Be sure to wear running socks that absorb sweat well. This means you need to avoid socks made from 100 percent cotton since they can become quickly saturated by sweat. Most running stores sell moisture-wicking socks that do a better job of keeping feet dry. Putting foot powder in your socks or shoes before a run can help as well.
* Stretch and warm up before every run: Stretching before a run reduces strain on joints, muscles, and tendons. Walking for about 10 minutes before you up the pace and start running can also prevent injuries.
* Build up endurance over time: Trying to increase your speed or distance too quickly can cause pain in your feet from overuse. Running experts recommend not increasing either by more than 10 percent per week.
* Choose your running surface carefully: Asphalt, concrete, and other hard running surfaces increase the likelihood of injury while soft surfaces decrease it. That is because the latter absorbs more of the impact when your feet hit the ground.
* Switch to walking occasionally: Alternating between walking and running produces less shock to your feet while still providing valuable exercise.
* Stop running if you feel pain: Trying to push through an injury can turn what would have been a minor problem into a major one that requires a long recovery period. It's also important to remember that pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong and you shouldn't ignore it.
Most Common Types of Foot Pain Among Runners
These five types of foot problems tend to be the most common among people who run recreationally or competitively:
1. Plantar fasciitis is the medical term for inflammation of the heel. Your plantar fascia is a band of tissues that connects the ball of your foot with the bottom of your heel. It can be especially vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries among runners.
2. Over-pronation means that your foot rotates excessively inward as it hits the ground. This causes strain on your foot tissues that eventually leads to noticeable pain. Although many people don't realize they have this problem, a supportive pair of running shoes can help to alleviate it.
3. Tendinitis is the swelling and irritation of tendons located in the feet. It is most common in the arch of the foot and frequently occurs due to running too far or too fast without having built up an endurance.
4. Blisters develop when you have friction between your skin and your shoes. You're especially prone to developing blisters when you wear ill-fitting shoes or have excess moisture in your socks.
5. Wearing running shoes that are too small is a leading cause of toe pain. Poorly fitting shoes cause your toes to slam up against the front of your shoes every time your foot hits the ground. If you're not paying careful attention, your toenails can turn black and eventually fall off. Make sure that you have plenty of room for your toes to move around when you try on a new pair of shoes.
If you develop severe foot pain that doesn't respond to your efforts to treat it, schedule an appointment with your regular doctor or at a sports medicine clinic.