Foot Problems In Runners


I seem to have a thing about feet at the moment, no not a fetish just a thing. This maybe because my own have been aching and my toes have been tortured by trainers that were too tight or because my other half Doug is limping every morning with the dreaded PF!! No not Painful Foot, Plantar Fascitis. It could also be because my twins have such perfect piggies that I wondered why ‘us’ runners put our feet through such pain.

So to,help I asked a friend, running mate and importantly for this blog a very good physio for some basic info on foot issues that we may face and here they are.

Many things can cause foot pain when you are running, and in order to manage them correctly it is important to work out what the cause is.

First main cause of pain is Plantar Fascitis which is an inflammation of the big band of tissue underneath your foot. It is commonly caused because something else somewhere is not right, either your trainers, your training plan (too much too soon?) or a stiff ankle or tight calf muscles. It is important therefore to work out the underlying reason that you have got it, so that it does not come back again, as well as treating the symptoms.

These symptoms are pain under your heel or into the underside of the foot. It can be a very sharp pain, worse when you first start walking or running, but likely to ease a bit once you get going. It can be very painful when you first get out of bed in the morning but ease as you walk around. Just standing still, or when you are resting it should not be too bad.

Treatment is rest from running initially, with lots of stretches and local deep massage. Ice and anti-inflammatories can help. Taping the foot can help, especially when you start running again, and of course whatever you think was the underlying cause needs to be addressed.

Another case of foot pain in runners can be a stress fracture of one of the small bones in the foot. This will give you a more localised area of pain in the foot, and will always be provoked by weight bearing (hopping will be very painful). It may not hurt when you start a walk or run, but will quickly worsen. It should go completely on rest and will not hurt when you first get up in the morning.

A stress fracture is usually associated with an increase or change in training, and can be diagnosed with an x-ray (although small fractures will not show up) or scan, and I am afraid the only treatment is rest from painful activities until it heals!

These are the two major causes of foot pain most commonly seen, but the foot is a complex structure and so lots of other things can potentially go wrong and cause pain, and of cause your foot is a vital piece of equipment when running! Therefore any foot pain should be professionally assessed and treated early to prevent long term problems.

Huge THANK YOUs to Lucy Walmsley Stow Physiotherapy

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