Running impacts on your feet whether you are running for fun or training for a marathon. On average, you put six times your body weight through each foot when running, which can emphasise any minor or major potential problems significantly.
Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Listen to your body and act on it! Training can cause normal aches and pains. Something called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a normal response from muscles repairing themselves after training. This typically occurs one to two days after a training session, and only lasts a couple of days. An injury is typically something that does not go away and causes you to stop or reduce your training.
The most common injuries for runners
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome – pain at the front of the knee is typically worse with repeated bending of the knee like running or squats and going up or down stairs. The pain is typically non-specific with little or no swelling. Muscle imbalance and poor alignment are often the cause.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) pain typically on the outside of the knee; an overuse injury with a tightening of the band of tissue which runs down the outside of the thigh and inserts into the outside of the knee. Pain typically occurs as the foot hits the ground when running, due to the increased knee angle
Achilles Tendinopathy is another overuse injury,involving the tendon at the back of the leg and foot. This can either have a gradual onset or become painful after a particularly grueling session. Early treatment is ideal with Ice Compression and Elevation (ICE), addressing any mechanical abnormalities that are present, leading on to a strengthening programme.
Tibial Stress Syndrome – known as shin splints; pain that occurs either in the front or inside of the shin which typically improves once you have warmed up and then is painful the following morning after exercise. A mechanical cause in relation to lower leg alignment can be a big influence in shin pain, and this should be addressed.
Plantar Fasciitis, this usually happens on standing up first thing in the morning or after a period of rest. This improves as you warm up but then gets worse the more activity you do. Podiatrists are in an ideal position to treat this, as insoles can reduce the stress on the band of tissue under the foot alongside specific foot & lower limb exercises and manual therapies.
All of the above injuries need treatment. If you think you have one of the above problems you should get in contact with us. We can also assess your ‘mechanics’ – the way you run or walk and ranges of motion and offer advice, stretches or exercises to aid performance and prevent injury in the future.
A FootBalance analysis can also illustrate your foot posture and insoles can be used as part of your rehabilitation.
Correct footwear is essential and a vital component in injury prevention. There are a number of companies that make ‘functional footwear’ for running rather than fashion-based footwear. There is a multitude of trainers with differing amounts of support to suit different foot types.
Five top tips when running
- Wear the correct footwear. Get these fitted properly to suit your foot type. Too small and they can cause black toe nails and blisters.
- Wear the correct socks to reduce the risks of fungal infection and blisters.
- Warm up before you run.
- Stretch and warm down.
- Get fresh and out of those socks! Take a towel and spare socks to change in to after your run.