Your foot is an incredible machine comprised of bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles all working in harmony as you run. But, as a runner, you probably have a love-hate relationship with your feet. These feelings can be for several reasons. Maybe you’ve had countless blisters and callouses after a long run or race. Maybe, you’ve experienced black or missing toenails. Or, maybe, the repetitive pounding of your feet on the ground just starts to hurt. Whatever the reason, some common foot pain problems can throw a wrench into your whole running process, causing you to literally stop in your tracks.
Below we talk about three, foot pain ailments, their causes, and how you can avoid injury:
If you’ve ever experienced a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near your heel, you’ve likely had plantar fasciitis. This foot pain condition can be:
- Worse in the mornings when you first get up.
- After long periods of standing.
- When you rise from sitting.
Usually, your foot pain will be worse after you run, not while you run.
The plantar fascia is a tendon that runs lengthwise across the bottom of your foot. Typically, it acts like a shock absorber, supporting the arch of your foot as you walk or run. However, when too much stress is placed on the fascia, small tears can develop. With repetitive stretching and tearing, the fascia can become irritated or inflamed.
For runners, plantar fasciitis can be caused by several things, such as overuse of the fascia; a bio-mechanical issue while running; improperly fitted running shoes; or an increase in the intensity or how often you run. Treatment includes:
- Performing stretching exercises, such as rolling your affected foot over a tennis ball or frozen water bottle.
- Wearing running shoes that are properly fitted and provide enough support to the fascia.
- Wearing custom orthotics, like ezRunner® Performance Fit Orthotics, to reinforce your fascia.
Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the thick band of tissue that attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone. Typically, you’ll feel pain along the back of your lower leg near your heel. And you may feel a sharp pain close to your heel, which can be incapacitating. You also may have swelling.
Achilles tendinitis can be caused by:
- Tight calve muscles that gradually lead to an overuse injury.
- Bio-mechanical issues as you run.
- Increasing your training volume and/or intensity too quickly.
- Wearing unsupportive shoes that are putting a strain on your Achilles tendon over time.
Unfortunately, the healing process for Achilles tendinitis often can be slow. Temporary foot pain relief measures include:
- Rest, icing, and stretches.
- Lower-leg exercises to help strengthen your calf muscles.
- Custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotic, to help by provide your feet with a better foundation.
When you’re ready to start running again:
- Make sure your shoes provide your feet with enough support.
- Insert ezRunner® Performance Fit Orthotics in your shoes to help improve your gait.
- Slowly increase your weekly mileage and intensity.
A stress fracture is a small crack or severe bruising within a bone. You can get a stress fracture in any bone in your foot. However, they typically occur in the metatarsals – the five long bones located between your toes and your hind foot. Stress fractures are commonly caused in runners by:
- Overuse of the foot.
- Rapidly increasing your running volume and/or intensity.
- Awkwardly stepping on a rock or in a pothole.
When a fracture occurs, typically, you will feel a sharp pain when the bone cracks. However, it may be difficult to determine if your foot pain is in your bone or tendon. If you think you may have a stress fracture, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Unfortunately, if you have a stress fracture, you’ll have to stop running. For your bone to heal correctly, you’ll need to stay off the fractured foot for about six weeks. Also, you may need to wear a boot. However, once the bone is healed, your foot pain should be gone for good.
Run EZ with Less Foot Pain
When you put ezRunner® Performance Fit Orthotics in your running shoes, you’re placing your feet in a neutral position to help keep your body in proper alignment with better balance. Proper alignment helps to reduce injuries that can cause foot pain. While improved balance can help you run better.
Visit the WalkEZStore for more information on ezRunner® Performance Fit Orthotics and ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. Our custom orthotics are ultra-thin and ¾ length, so they easily fit into any shoes you may wear. Make your running and walking better, order your custom orthotics today.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.® And you’ll want to run even further.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 123RF / Blazej Lyjak