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How to Prevent Common Foot Injuries From Running

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Although relatively small, the foot one of the most complex structures in the human body. Each foot contains an intricate assembly of 33 joints, 26 bones, and over a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments that must work together to absorb shock loads, support your body weight, and propel your body forward as you run.

Therefore, an injury to any of these structures can lead to difficulty walking and running foot pain while walking.

Given the sheer number of structures in the foot, it’s not surprising that there are a number of potential foot injuries in runners. From plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia to metatarsal stress fractures to bunions, foot injuries and foot pain from running can be all too common and really interfere with your workout.

So what are the best ways to prevent common foot injuries in runners? How can you fix foot pain from running before it becomes a full-blown injury?

In this article we will discuss how to prevent foot pain while running to keep your feet happy mile after mile.

Why does my foot hurt after running?

Unfortunately, running-related injuries are quite common and the foot is one of the most injury-prone areas for runners.

According to the research results who studied the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries in runners, between 5.7% and 39.3% of runners sustain a foot injury during exercise during the year.

Although many common running injuries such as shin splints and runner’s knee are often most likely to occur in beginners, studies show that foot injuries in runners are actually more common in experienced runners with higher mileage.

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It’s not surprising that foot injuries from running are common. The feet are the first structures to hit the ground when running, they take the brunt of impact forces. Research suggests that the feet absorb forces that are roughly equivalent 2-3 times your body weight if you run and runners take about 1,400 steps per mile when running at a pace of 8 minutes per mile.

Common foot injuries in runners

There are numerous possible foot injuries in runners, but the following are some of the most common causes of foot pain while running:

  • plantar fasciitis
  • metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • extensor tendinitis
  • Metatarsal fatigue fractures
  • Tibialis posterior tendinitis/tendinopathy
  • Peroneal tendinitis/tendinopathy
  • Hallux rigidus
  • bale
  • vamp disease
  • Sinus tarsi syndrome

What Causes Foot Pain After Running?

Most causes of foot injuries or foot pain from running are multifactorial. Therefore, to prevent foot pain, you usually need to pay attention to risk factors when exercising and take active measures to strengthen your feet and keep them healthy.

For example, risk factors for plantar fasciitis include increasing exercise volume too quickly, overtraining in general, flat feet, obesity, and wearing unsupportive and worn-out running shoes, while risk factors for posterior tibial tendonitis include overpronation, excessive hill running, and worn-out wear Shoes and weakness in the lower leg muscles.

In general, the best way to prevent foot injuries from running is to assess and then address the overall risk factors for foot pain after running. These risk factors include:

  • Suddenly increase exercise volume or intensity
  • Overtraining or insufficient rest and recovery
  • Exceed or heel strike
  • Overpronate or supinate
  • With very low arches or rigid high arches
  • The surface you are running on suddenly changes
  • Excessive downhill running
  • No pre-workout warm-up
  • Weakness in the calves, glutes, hips or shins
  • Tension in the calf muscles or shins
  • Wear worn or unsupportive running shoes
  • Wear tight shoes
  • Lace shoes too tight
  • Osteoporosis and/or inadequate calorie and nutrient intake
  • obesity

RELATED: Could the pain in your foot be neurogenic plantar fasciitis?

foot strength
Following a few basic foot protocols will help keep feet ready for their most important supportive role. Yours!

How to prevent foot injuries in runners

Given the risk factors for foot injuries, here are some ways to prevent foot injuries while running:

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Wear the right shoes

While your footwear doesn’t necessarily cause a foot injury, wearing the “wrong” running shoes can definitely contribute.

What exactly defines the wrong shoes?

There are several different types of running shoes—mainly neutral shoes, stability shoes, and motion control shoes—each designed to offer different levels of pronation control (how much your foot rolls inward when you land).

Every runner has a unique foot and gait pattern, so the best type of running shoe for your biomechanics may differ from that of another runner.

Go to your local running store and get a gait analysis on the treadmill. This is usually the best way to determine what type of running shoes are best for your feet.

Wearing the right shoes will help ensure your foot is well positioned to take the load and transfer the loads to the rest of your leg.

Replace your running shoes

In addition to having the right type of running shoes for your feet, it’s also important to wear shoes that aren’t broken and worn out.

While we can get a little stuck on our favorite pair of running shoes, it’s important to replace your running shoes before they become unsupportive.

Most running shoe manufacturers recommend buying new shoes every 300-500 miles. The longevity of your running shoes—whether they’re closer to the 300- or 500-mile end of the spectrum—depends on numerous factors, such as the quality of the shoe, your biomechanics, your height, the terrain you’re running on, and whether you spin your shoes.

When running shoes wear out, they lack the support needed to keep the foot in its ideal position and lack the cushioning to absorb and transmit forces from impact to repulsion while running.

RELATED: Miles or Months? How long do running shoes last?

Consider getting orthotics

If you have a flat foot with a very low arch, your foot tends to sag excessively and you are unable to take advantage of the arch’s natural shock absorption during decompression. That’s because the arch is already flattened; Therefore, more stress is transferred to the foot.

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Between the combination of overpronation and low foot arch, the risk of injuries like posterior tibial tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis increases.

A high arch and a stiff foot can contribute to extensor tendinitis and peroneal problems.

If you have problems with foot structure, you should see a podiatrist for custom insoles. You can also try over-the-counter insoles for running.

RELATED: We Tried: Semi-Custom Running Shoe Insoles

Strengthen your feet

You can strengthen the muscles in your feet by doing foot exercises like picking up marbles with your toes, grasping and squeezing a towel between your toes, and flexing and stretching your toes.

In addition to such “toe yoga” exercises, walking barefoot indoors can also strengthen your feet.

Stay away from tight shoes

Wearing tight shoes, whether running shoes or day shoes, can compress the balls of the feet and lead to foot injuries such as metatarsalgia, bunions, or Morton’s neuroma.

Make sure there is enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes.

Retie your shoelaces

Tie your shoes too tight can lead to vampire disease, sinus tarsi syndrome, and metatarsalgia.

Experiment with different lacing patterns to relieve pressure on problem areas.

Use RICE at the first sign of pain

Runners often ignore small wobbles and hope they magically go away, but treating foot pain immediately after your run can help prevent foot injuries from escalating.

A good first line of treatment for musculoskeletal injuries is the classic RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

RICE can help fight inflammation.

Stretch your calves

Tight calves can contribute to numerous foot injuries in runners, so spend time each day stretching your calves or using a foam roller or massage gun to achieve myofascial relaxation.

Pay attention to your training

For most foot injuries in runners, at least one element of training has contributed to the problem.

Overtraining, increasing mileage or speed work too quickly, changing terrain suddenly, running on banked roads, or excessive descents are examples of potential training errors that can contribute to the development of a foot injury.

Make sure to change everything gradually – be it in a new kind of shoeson sand or grass instead of the road, or to track workouts instead of just distance runs.

Note the 10% rule for weekly mileage increases.

Work with a physical therapist

If you notice problems with your stride or identify muscle imbalances or weakness, work with a physical therapist to address the issues before they escalate.

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so after your run, take stock of the possible causes of foot pain to help prevent a foot injury from occurring.

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